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Home | News | The 2024 H. Gregg Lewis Prize has been awarded to Nadine Ketel
News | June 11, 2024

The 2024 H. Gregg Lewis Prize has been awarded to Nadine Ketel

The prestigious H. Gregg Lewis Prize for the best paper published in the Journal of Labor Economics during 2022–23 has been awarded to research fellow and alumna Nadine Ketel (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and co-author Anna Bindler (University of Cologne, Germany) for “Scaring or Scarring? Labor Market Effects of Criminal Victimization,” which appeared in the October 2022 issue of the journal.

The 2024 H. Gregg Lewis Prize has been awarded to Nadine Ketel

The H. Gregg Lewis Prize was established in 1994 and is awarded biennially to the author(s) of the best article published in the Journal of Labor Economics during the previous two years.

Contributions to an extremely thin literature

While many studies estimate the effects of policies and programs on crime and on recidivism, we know remarkably little about the victims of crime. In particular, we know very little about how crime affects victims’ well-being or about how best to help victims recover. This lack of knowledge arises mainly from the difficulty in obtaining data on crime victims. Law enforcement fiercely protects victims’ identities, and for good reason. Crime victims did nothing wrong, and there is no argument that such information should be public record in the same way that information on offenders is. But the consequence is that researchers have been unable to use our empirical toolkit to understand this group and how to help them.

In this context, Bindler and Ketel provide important information on the costs of crime victimization. They obtained remarkably rich data on crime victims in the Netherlands, and linked the information on when the reported victimization occurred (as well as the details of the offense) with data on labor market outcomes and public benefit receipt. The result is one of the first analyses of the costs of crime to crime victims. By linking administrative data on the full population of crime victims with labor market and public benefit data, this study represents a major step forward on a topic of tremendous policy importance.

Using an event study approach, the authors examine the effects of reported crime incidents on the outcomes of victims. Their analysis is careful and thorough, considering the possibilities of various correlated shocks and reverse causality. The figures in the paper tell the story: when victims report crimes, they experience (on average) immediate, substantial and persistent costs. Their cost estimates vary across subgroups and crime types, and represent valuable evidence relevant not only for estimation of the social costs of crime but for the design and evaluation of policies to improve crime victims’ outcomes.

This study reveals particularly striking impacts for women who are the victims of domestic violence (assault or violent threat by a partner). In doing so, it also contributes to a growing literature on gender-based violence.

The committee selected this paper because of its important and novel contributions to an extremely thin literature, as well as its careful execution. This study promises to be a foundational and classic paper in all future studies of an important and understudied group that deserves much greater attention: crime victims.

Source: Journal of Labor Economics: Awards (uchicago.edu).

Article citation
Anna Bindler and Nadine Ketel,“Scaring or Scarring? Labor Market Effects of Criminal Victimization,” Journal of Labor Economics, Volume 40, Number 4, October 2022, doi/10.1086/718515.