Friday, March 28, 2014

Cash and Crime

Sitting here in my office at the World Bank, I came across two little tidbits as I did my quick morning scan of the news and economics articles on the internets.

First, there is this Oregonian article which describes the problem that marijuana businesses face because they are legitimate in the eyes of the State of Washington but not in the eyes of the Feds - meaning banks will not deal with them.  So, it is essentially an all-cash business.  Those involved in the trade worry that this will lead to more crime.

Are their fears justified?

Yes, says this paper by a group of criminologists and economists, who study the changeover from welfare checks to an electronic benefit card in Missouri (it was rolled out at different times for different counties providing a bit of a natural experiment setting) and find that the card was responsible in an almost 10% decrease in crime.

Ok, back to work.

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