November 6, 2008

Crime’s Impact on Environmental Quality

Ly Le ’09 writes about her EXCEL research with Professor Mark Crain

This summer, economics and business major Ly Le ’09 (Hanoi, Viet Nam) performed EXCEL research on the impact of crime on environmental quality under the guidance of Mark Crain, Simon Professor of Political Economy and chair of Policy Studies, and Nicole Crain, visiting professor of economics and business.

Criminology and environmental studies? Are they to any extent related to economics and business? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on how you address the issue.

Professor Mark Crain said to me, “An analysis of the impact of crime on environmental quality. Nicole Crain and I had this idea a few days ago. I think you can work on that.” Is it a challenge or is it a compelling adventure for an economics and business major who previously hadn’t had any academic exposure to the fields? Balking at the assignment?

No, I don’t think so. The moment I saw Professor Crain’s encouraging smile and felt his trust, I knew I would spare no effort and not let him down. “Crime and Environmental Quality: A Global Analysis” is a project of research, of self-discipline, of self-improvement. It is a project of my life.

I started the project with Professor Crain in the summer 2008 when I was working as his research assistant. Having taken no courses related to the topic, I found myself tirelessly searching for and reading articles pertaining to the interrelationship between crime and the environment. In collaboration with professors Mark Crain and Nicole Crain, I collected data on crime rates and environmental quality indicators of more than 200 countries during the period of 1960 to 2006 to investigate the possible adverse effect of crime rates on environmental quality.

Throughout the project, Professor Crain has guided me through difficulties while giving me the opportunity to explore my creativity and achieve my potential. Professor Crain’s knowledge and kindness have instilled in me the great determination to carry out the research project to the best of my ability.

The project will add a new and important dimension to the determinants of environmental quality, and raises a host of policy-relevant implications. The research has enhanced my understanding of the relationship between a country’s social indicators and its policies, and reinforced my interest in examining the interrelationship of economic and governmental factors in the economic development of developing countries. I am planning to apply to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in political economy.

  • Policy Studies
  • Economics and Business
  • Undergraduate Research

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