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9 Homicide Stud. 3 (2005)

handle is hein.journals/homcst9 and id is 1 raw text is: 

















     Ascribed Economic Inequality and

     Homicide Among Modern Societies

     Toward the Development of a Cross-National Theory



                      MITCHELL B.   CHAMLIN
                          University of Cincinnati
                        JOHN   K. COCHRAN
                        University of South Florida



Although a great number of studies have established, through a variety of methodologies,
the existence of a positive association between economic inequality and homicide rates
cross-culturally, none, in our view, have offered a sound theoretical explanation for this
association. Almost all of these accounts suffer from problems of reductionism in that
they offer social-psychological explanations for macro-social phenomena. They also pro-
vide explanations that cannot be logically extended to the crime of homicide, which can-
not be falsified due to the lack of the data necessary to critically test them and/or are lim-
ited to the United States but cannot logically be extended cross-nationally. In this article,
the authors offer a solution to this problem that avoids invoking reductionist explana-
tions. This macro-social approach distinguishes between achieved and ascribed bases of
economic inequality, arguing that variations in cross-national rates of homicide among
modern societies are best explained by high levels of ascribed economic inequality.



Keywords:   economic inequality; macro-theory; homicide; legitimacy

This article is concerned with the relationship  between   economic
inequality  and homicide   among   nation-states.  Our  interest rests
not with the empirical  status of the association between  these two
concepts.  After all, the extant research  is inordinately clear and
consistent.  Beginning in the 1970s, numerous studies have
reported  that countries  that suffer from  higher  levels of income
inequality  tend  to experience  higher  levels of homicide.   More-
over, this finding  seems  to hold  across  alternative measures   of
economic   deprivation   and  homicide,   across researchers,  across
model   specifications, and across time  (cf. Avison & Loring,  1986;


HOMICIDE  STUDIES, Vol. 9 No. 1, February 2005 3-29
DOI: 10.1177/1088767904271432
@ 2005 Sage Publications
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