Many empirical studies of the economics of crime focus solely on the determinants thereof, and do not consider the dynamic and cross-sectional properties of their data. As a response to this, the current paper offers an in-depth analysis of this issue using data covering 21 Swedish counties from 1975 to 2010. The results suggest that the crimes considered are non-stationary, and that this cannot be attributed to county-specific disparities alone, but that there are also a small number of common stochastic trends to which groups of counties tend to revert. In an attempt to explain these common stochastic trends, we look for a long-run cointegrated relationship between unemployment and crime. Overall, the results do not support cointegration, and suggest that previous findings of a significant unemployment–crime relationship might be spurious.
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