1

I would like to know which of the following sentences would be preferable in American English academic writing:

  1. Over the past years unemployment increased, which may help explain the increase in crime rates.
  2. Over the past years unemployment increased, which may help to explain the increase in crime rates.
1

From what I have read, both forms, with or without "to", are equally acceptable both in writing and speech, even if without "to", it seems more common in everyday speech, especially in American English ( which is also proved by the answers of @bko and @Alliу Hoffman, native English speakers from the USA).

For more information, should you still need it, here are a few links:

link 1

link 2

link 3

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1

I believe they're both grammatically correct, but I would write "may help explain" as it feels more natural.

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1

I would use may help explain in this sort of present tense, the to does not seem necessary.

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