We use detailed crime, agriculture, and weather data from India during the years 1971–2000 to conduct a systematic analysis of the relationship between weather shocks and multiple categories of crime. We find that drought and heat exert a strong impact on virtually all types of crimes, that the impact on property crimes is larger than for violent crimes, and that this relationship has been relatively stable over three decades of economic development. We then use seasonal and geographical disaggregations of weather and agricultural cultivation to examine the prevailing hypothesis that agricultural income shocks drive the weather–crime relationship in developing countries. The patterns we find are consistent with this hypothesis in the case of rainfall shocks, but suggest additional mechanisms may play an important role in driving the heat–crime relationship, consistent with evidence from industrialized countries.


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pp. 750-782
Launched on MUSE
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