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Structural Correlates of Female Homicide: A Cross-National Analysis

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 37 Issue: 6 Dated: November-December 2009 Pages: 576-585
Suzanne Agha
Date Published
December 2009
10 pages
Using data for 48 countries across multiple levels of development, this study compared the effects of development/modernization and opportunity on female homicide rates in relation to their effects on male homicide rates.
The study found that the pattern of associations between structural correlates and homicide offending was similar for female and male models. Countries with a higher gross domestic product (GDP) per capita had lower rates of both female and male homicide offending. Percent urban did not have a strong link with either male or female homicide rates. Countries with a higher number of people per household had a lower rate of both male and female homicide offending; however, this association may only hold when the percentage of youth in the household is excluded from the model. Thus, this study found considerable similarity in the structural correlates of male and female homicide rates across nations. This finding is consistent with U.S. studies of gender-disaggregated arrest rates. These studies indicate that in addition to addressing between-sex variation in offending, research should also examine within-sex variation in offending rates. The study's two dependent variables were female arrest rate for homicide and male arrest rate for homicide. Rates were calculated by dividing the number of female arrestees by the female population and multiplying this figure by 100,000, repeating the process for males. Homicide arrest data came from the INTERPOL and were averaged across the years 1993-99. Data for predictor variables were from the mid- to late-1990s. They were obtained from the World Bank (2007), the United Nations Human Development Report (Haq, 1995), and the Deininger and Squire database. Independent and control variables were selected on the basis of theoretical grounds and from previous research. GDP per capita is one of the most frequently used indicators of national development. 4 tables, 16 notes, 100 references, and appended list of countries