In recent years the glitter of modern economic growth has been dulled, as more attention has been focused upon the attendant dislocations and negative aspects that have accompanied it. One area that has received little attention, especially from economists, is crime. Many writings of criminologists suggest that crime is a negative attribute that accompanies economic growth, for levels of affluence and crime seem to move upward together. A pattern similar to that observed in other modern countries was reported for Japan in 1966 by Professors DeVos and Mizushima.
What relationship should be expected between growth and crime? The usual economic theories of criminal behavior, with crime a declining function of an individual's ability to obtain legal income, would seem to argue for a negative relationship. However, crime is also related to the potential for ill-gotten gains; thus, it might be expected to at least keep pace with levels of income, or perhaps surpass them. This paper represents an attempt to provide some answers to these issues by explaining some of the complex interplay between factors involved in labor market improvement and the degree of criminal activity in Japan.