Natural disasters, violence and crime: evidence from 2017 Chilean megafires
Marcela Arriagada Silva
Tesis, Magíster en Economía, IE-PUC, 2018
Abstract: We investigate whether individuals’ behavior change in the aftermath of a natural disaster: the 2017 Chilean megafires. Exploiting geographical variation in the intensive and extensive margin of fires in a municipality-level panel data setting, we estimate the impact of the megafires on crime and domestic violence. Our estimates suggest that megafires caused a substantial increase in domestic violence, whereas we find no such statistical pattern in the case of violent crime and property crime. We find suggestive evidence on the underlying mechanism for our reduced-form results: A negative shock on the income of people whose main source of revenue was related to agricultural and forestry activities, as well as a negative psychological shock that generates high levels of stress, altering individuals’ behavior.