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Political Restraint of the Market and Levels of Criminal Homicide: A Cross- National Application of Institutional-Anomie Theory

Steven F. Messner and Richard Rosenfeld
Social Forces
Vol. 75, No. 4 (Jun., 1997), pp. 1393-1416
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580676
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580676
Page Count: 24
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Political Restraint of the Market and Levels of Criminal Homicide: A Cross- National Application of Institutional-Anomie Theory
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Abstract

This article examines the effects on national homicide rates of political efforts to insulate personal well-being from market forces. Drawing upon recent work by Esping-Andersen and the institutional-anomie theory of crime, we hypothesize that levels of homicide will vary inversely with the "decommodification of labor." We develop a measure of decommodification based on levels and patterns of welfare expenditures and include this measure in a multivariate, cross-national analysis of homicide rates. The results support our hypothesis and lend credibility to the institutional-anomie perspective. The degree of decommodification is negatively related to homicide rates, net of controls for other characteristics of nations.

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