Essays on Inequality and Social Policy : Education, Crime and Health

Abstract: This thesis consists of four empirical essays. The first essay evaluates the impact on crime of a large scale experimental scheme in which all state monopoly alcohol stores in selected Swedish counties kept open on Saturdays. We show that the experiment significantly raised both alcohol sales and crime. The effect is confined to Saturdays and tentative evidence indicates a displacement of crime from weekdays to Saturdays. The experiment had no significant impact on crime over the entire week.The second essay examines the effect of income inequality on health for newly arrived refugees. The results reveal no statistically significant effect of income inequality on the risk of being hospitalized. This finding holds for most population subgroups and when separating between different types of diagnoses. The conclusions do not change when we consider long-term exposure to inequality. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out large effects of income inequality on health.The third essay examines the effect of relative income differences on criminal behavior. There is a positive effect on the propensity to commit property crime. The effect is small and mainly driven by past offenders, low educated and young individuals. I only find weak evidence that relative income differences increases the likelihood to commit violent crime. The empirical analysis further reveals that differences in gross labor earnings are more strongly related to crime than disparities in disposable income.The fourth essay describes the patterns of intergenerational transmission of education among immigrant mothers and their daughters. The results show that the persistence is slightly lower among immigrants compared to natives, and that the relationship is weaker among those who start out disadvantaged. I find large variations across different immigrant groups, but these differences are partly explained by the fact that groups belong to different parts of the educational distribution.