Published on Africa Can End Poverty

Crime and Punishment in Abidjan

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The first-prize winner of the African Public Policy Awards was a paper by Jose Carlos Assi Kimou on the determinants of crime in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 

Using rigorous statistical methods, the paper shows that crime in Abidjan (i) goes down as enforcement (measured by the number of policemen) goes up; (ii) goes up with negative external shocks, such as the 1994 devaluation of the CFA Franc and the 1999 coup d’état,

although the civil war seems to have reduced aggravated assaults and homicides, presumably because of the large number of military personnel on the streets; and (iii) has an ambiguous relationship with income—thefts go up with income, but homicides go down. 


This is an important paper by an up-and-coming researcher—Kimou also won the global IIPF “Young Researchers Award” for excellence by economists under 40.


Shanta Devarajan

Teaching Professor of the Practice Chair, International Development Concentration, Georgetown University

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