The Impact of Increasing Community-Directed State Mental Health Agency Expenditures on Violent Crime

John S. Palatucci, Alan C. Monheit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Violent crime remains a prevalent threat to population health within the United States. States offer varying policy approaches to prevent violent crime and support behavioral health, such as community-based programs that include substance use disorder prevention and treatment. Using state mental health agency data, we construct a panel of U.S. states over nine years and apply an instrumental variables empirical model with state and time fixed effects to adjust for policy endogeneity, omitted variable bias, and time trends. We find that a 10% increase in community-directed state mental health agency expenditures yielded nearly a 4% reduction in violent crime rates. Larger magnitude reductions in violent crime rates were associated with the presence of gun control regulations and increases in the proportion of the population completing secondary education. Policymakers should consider the added benefit of violent crime reduction when considering budgetary allocations of community-directed state mental health agency expenditures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1037
Number of pages11
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Volume58
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Public health
  • Public policy
  • Public sector spending
  • Substance use
  • Violence

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