Recent theoretical models underscore the potential asymmetric response of various behaviors, ranging from criminal activity to smoking. In this paper, we use state-level panel and individual-level panel data to document the previously unnoticed asymmetric response of crime to changes in the unemployment rate. The results have policy implications, and they have potentially widespread ramifications because similar asymmetries may also be prevalent in other domains, ranging from the relationship between income and health to peer quality and student outcomes.

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