Criminal Justice Review Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: (Autumn 1993) Pages: 182-202
Research regarding the relationship between violent crime and economic conditions is discussed.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, several important reviews of the literature failed to establish a clear consensus on the relationship between economic conditions and violent crime. This article presents the results of research applying the procedures of meta-analysis to 34 aggregate data studies reporting on violent crime, poverty, and income inequality. These studies reported a total of 76 zero-order correlation coefficients for all measures of violent crime with either poverty or income inequality. Of the 76 coefficients, all but two, or 97 percent, were positive. Of the positive coefficients, nearly 80 percent were of at least moderate strength. It is concluded that poverty and income inequality are each associated with violent crime. The analysis, however, shows considerable variation in the estimated size of the relationships and suggests that homicide and assault may be more closely associated with poverty or income inequality than are rape and robbery. Tables, references
United States of America
Revised version of a paper that was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in San Francisco, California on November 20, 1991.