Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2013

Capstone Advisor

Perry Singleton

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Economics | Labor Economics


Hate crimes are those crimes that are motivated by bias against groups different from the perpetrator. They are especially contemptible offenses in that they, like terrorism, negatively impact an entire community as well as the victim targeted. While crime has been, and will continue to be, widely studied by economists, the specific area of hate crimes is relatively understudied. To contribute to the understanding of hate crimes, this paper examines whether hate crimes are economically motivated: in particular, whether there is a relationship between the incidence of hate crimes and the unemployment. Comprehending this link can help build the knowledge necessary to understand the motivations of hate crimes necessary to craft policy and design strategies to prevent and disincentivize hate crime in the future. I primarily make us of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports data on hate crime to estimate the effect of unemployment on hate crime across states. I find a statistically significant positive effect of unemployment on violent hate crimes in a inverted parabola shape suggesting that, for the relevant unemployment levels, low levels and high levels of unemployment correlating with low violent hate crime and medium levels of unemployment correlating with high violent hate crime. I also find a small statistically insignificant positive effect of unemployment on property hate crime that takes an inverted parabolic shape very similar to that of unemployment’s effect on violent hate crime.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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