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UC study finds higher minimum wage doesn't equal less crime

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati say increasing the minimum wage won't lower crime rates.

When debating the idea of raising the minimum wage, proponents sometimes suggest doing so will cause a decrease in crime. But the team at UC says that's just not the case.

The researchers compared violent and property crime rates in the US from 1977 to 2012 to states that follow the federal minimum wage rate and states with a higher rate.

Derek Cohen is a doctoral candidate at UC and an analyst with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He says, "If we look at some of the more theoretically unsound causes of crime, I think one of the most poorly specified is the interplay between economics and crime. The folkism is that when times are tougher for everybody you have to steal a loaf of bread to feed your family or there are more people out there that do. And that is generally, I'd say, a very loose specification of how crime works at the individual level."

Cohen is confident in the findings but says he'd like continue studying the issue to see if different methodologies produce the same results.

The UC research team will present its findings Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Atlanta.

More information is here.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.