Thursday, March 20, 2014

Have we missed anything?

Would global cooling reduce crime rates?  Would Chicago of late make a good test case?

Monday, 17 March 2014

New study published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management: Global warming will cause 180,000 cases of rape in the US

From the wonderful world of global warming "science":

"Crime, weather, and climate change" - A study by Matthew Ranson published in the
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

"This paper estimates the impact of climate change on the prevalence of criminal activity in the United States. The analysis is based on a 30-year panel of monthly crime and weather data for 2997 US counties. I identify the effect of weather on monthly crime by using a semi-parametric bin estimator and controlling for state-by-month and county-by-year fixed effects. The results show that temperature has a strong positive effect on criminal behavior, with little evidence of lagged impacts. Between 2010 and 2099, climate change will cause an additional 22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny, and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft in the United States."


Karl Kuhn said...

Nice example of how to create climate porn with cumulated figures over 90 years. 22000 additional cases of murder are 247 additional cases per year for each year 2010-2099. Okay, let us assume that the increase may be somewhat exponential, such that increments in 2099 might turn out to be double that average, i.e. 494 additional cases thanks to climate change. The total annual number of murders in the US was 14754 in 2012, resulting in a murder rate of 4.7 per 100k inhabitants. So climate change would add 494 = 3.4% to this, increasing the murder rate to 4.73 ... something probably well within the current inter-annual standard variation of murder figures. With forcible rape, the increase of annual cases would be 4,8%, somewhat higher, but still based on my assumption of a non-linear increase. Even though all that is almost indistinguishable from the inter-annual noise, the article calls it a 'substantial increase' by trumpeting big cumulative figures while carefully avoiding to put results into perspective. The fact that reviewers let this pass is another symptom for 'science going wrong'. Am I now 'anti-science' because I criticize such peer-reviewed propaganda?

Karl Kuhn said...

sorry, the 3.4% increase in the murder rate would result in a rate of 4.85 ...

But for historical context, see this:

As Werner Krauss mentioned somewhere else, also these authors seem not at all interested in their topic, as otherwise they would have taken a much broader view - this would have been possible with just a bit additional effort.

@ReinerGrundmann said...

I wonder if one can accept what appear to be two basic premises of the argument: that correlation is causation, and that the observed effects would hold universally.
The author gives three theoretical arguments to address the first problem
1 rational choice theory of crime- warmer weather provides more opportunities for committing crime and escaping undetected
2 more social interaction leads to more crime, and because of warmer weather we get more social interaction
3 warmer weather increases aggression

To test these theories one would need comparative studies of crime rates in countries with similar temperatures, which the author does not conduct. One would also expect to test for more obvious causal influences of crime, such as socio-economic variables and subcultures.

The author seems in the thrall of climate determinism. So much so that he dedicates a lot of effort to proving it without considering instances that would call into question the theoretical assumptions.