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Is inequality really a major cause of violent crime? Evidence from a cross-national panel of robbery and violent theft rates

Neumayer, Eric (2005) Is inequality really a major cause of violent crime? Evidence from a cross-national panel of robbery and violent theft rates. Journal of Peace Research, 42 (1). pp. 101-112. ISSN 1460-3578

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Abstract

This article argues that the link between income inequality and violent property crime might be spurious, complementing a similar argument in prior analysis by the author on the determinants of homicide. In contrast, Fajnzylber, Lederman & Loayza (1998; 2002a, b) provide seemingly strong and robust evidence that inequality causes a higher rate of both homicide and robbery/violent theft even after controlling for country-specific fixed effects. Our results suggest that inequality is not a statistically significant determinant, unless either country-specific effects are not controlled for or the sample is artificially restricted to a small number of countries. The reason why the link between inequality and violent property crime might be spurious is that income inequality is likely to be strongly correlated with country-specific fixed effects such as cultural differences. A high degree of inequality might be socially undesirable for any number of reasons, but that it causes violent crime is far from proven.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journal.aspx?pid=105672
Additional Information: Copyright © 2005 International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<http://eprints.lse.ac.uk>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 18 May 2006
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/619/

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