The determinants of crime have been an area of numerous studies over time. In spite of this volume of work, interest in the causes of crime continues to persist. This paper investigates the determinants of variations in crime rates in the United States using cross-sectional state-level data. It explores the role of government spending and socio-economic variables and compares these determinants for the three years 1990, 2000, and 2010 to determine whether there have been changes in the impact of these variables in these years. State level data is used for the statistical analysis. The result shows that the determinants of crime varied by both the category of crime and the period of study. In addition, government spending on welfare and education were not significant in 1990, but become more significant for the 2000 and 2010 samples.
Key words: crime rate, determinants of crime, government spending.
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