A Statistical Analysis of Crime Against Foreigners in Unified Germany


Germany has experienced a high and rising rate of anti-foreigner violence during the early
1990s. To analyze the determinants of crime against foreigners we assembled a new data set
on the number and nature of such crimes at the county level based on newspaper reports. We
find significant differences in the patterns of violence in the eastem and westem parts of the
country. The incidence of anti-foreigner crime is higher in the east and rises with distance
from the former west German border. Economic variables like unemployment and wages
matter little for the level of crime once location in the east is taken into account. The relative
number of foreigners in a county has no relationship with the incidence of ethnic crimes in the
west, whereas in the east it has a positive association with the number of crimes per resident
and a negative association with the number of crimes per foreign resident.

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Journal of Human Resources Vol 32, No. 1, Winter, 1997
Working Papers