Cash Transfers and Violent Crime in Indonesian Communities
Elías Cisneros, Krisztina Kis-Katos, Jan Priebe, Lennart Reiners
This study investigates the impact of Indonesia’s flagship anti-poverty program PKH on community-level violent crime. Exploiting administrative data from PKH’s staggered nationwide roll-out and data from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in combination with different causal identification strategies, we show that PKH led to an increase in violent crime in the country. Examining possible mechanisms, our analysis reveals that PKH resulted in an increase in idleness among non-targeted young men within beneficiary households, which we believe contributed to the rise in violent crime. In contrast, we show that the surge in violent crime is neither related to PKH increasing the (monetary and non-monetary) rewards for committing crime nor to alternative reductions in the (material, psychic, punishment-related) costs of engaging in crimes.