Skip to Main Navigation

Heat, Crime, and Punishment (English)

Using administrative criminal records from Texas, this paper shows how heat affects criminal defendants, police officers, prosecutors, and judges. It finds that arrests increase by up to 15 percent on hot days, driven by increases in violent crime. There is no evidence that charging-day heat impacts prosecutorial decisions. However, working alone, judges dismiss fewer cases, issue longer prison sentences, and levy higher fines when ruling on hot days. Higher incomes, newer housing, more teamwork, and less accessible weapons may decrease these adverse effects of heat. Even with adaptation, the paper forecasts that climate change will increase crime and have substantial distributional consequences.


  • Author

    Behrer,Arnold Patrick, Bolotnyy,Valentin

  • Document Date


  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country

    United States,

  • Region

    Rest Of The World,

  • Disclosure Date


  • Disclosure Status


  • Doc Name

    Heat, Crime, and Punishment

  • Keywords

    development research group; violent crime; hot day; impact of climate change; probability of arrest; future climate change; criminal justice system; use of force; impact of temperature; climate change impact; urban economics; climate mitigation policies; judicial decision making; change in behavior; Race or Ethnicity; change in temperature; determinants of crime; daily weather data; low income areas; victims of crime; climate adaptation research; source income; crimes of passion; income support program; source of income; central air conditioning; criminal activity; police activity; housing stock; census block; judicial outcome; crime increase; judicial system; judicial process; welfare costs; hot temperature; maximum temperature; built environment; criminal prosecution; vapor pressure; summary statistic; daily maximum; cognitive function; climate control; old housing; unique id; maximum likelihood; dew point; aggressive behavior; future adaptation; daily data; daily temperature; prison sentence; temperature increase; census tract; geographic scope; low temperature; geographic region; individual level; study area; robustness check; outcome data; court trial; address information; individual data; court cost; court order; individual city; court rule; predicted change; court ruling; circulation model; psychological consequences; processing time; asylum request; regressive impact; vulnerable communities; high poverty; minority neighborhood; crop failure; positive relationship; experimental economics; recent work; expected utility; criminal complaint; economic shock; crop yield; negative sign; police behavior; grant program; public place; state law; penetration rate; college sport; residential building; welfare perspective; several parts; subsequent days; labor supply; it impact; temperature change; similar way; majority population; local temperature; Justice Systems; standard error; calendar year; individual crime; demographic information; sample period; research assistance; spatial distribution; political science; daily precipitation; rainy days; Early childhood; median income; absolute temperature; new house; time trend; police department; temporal resolution; data limitation; previous work; temperature relative; open access; development policy; adverse outcomes; incidental parameter; judicial action; Research Support



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


Behrer,Arnold Patrick Bolotnyy,Valentin

Heat, Crime, and Punishment (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9909 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.