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NCJ Number: 163162 Find in a Library
Title: Wage Inequality and Criminal Activity: An Extreme Bounds Analysis for the United States, 1975-1990
Journal: Criminology  Volume:34  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1996)  Pages:163-180
Author(s): R Fowles; M Merva
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 18
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The relationship between crime and changes in the distribution of wage income was studied using extreme bounds analysis in conjunction with ordinary least squares regression.
Abstract: The analysis used aggregate data for metropolitan statistical areas for the period 1975-1990. Six standard measures of wage inequality were used. Results revealed that wage inequality was linked to the violent crimes of murder and assault across a broad set of model specifications. However, the data did not reveal a link between wage inequality and the crimes of robbery and burglary. Results were inconclusive for larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, and forcible rape. Findings should be considered a first stage in examining the link between wage inequality and criminality. Although findings indicated that wage inequality is positively linked to violent crimes and not property crimes, the specific causal mechanisms underlying these relationships could not be determined through this study. Possible explanations include the psychological responses generated by feelings of relative deprivation and the potential for deteriorating wages at the lower end of the wage distribution to motivate young males to take part in illegal drug dealing and the associated violence. Results should allow for more confidence in assessing the economic costs and benefits of programs directed toward alleviating the increasing wage disparity characteristic of the recent performance of the United States economy. Tables, footnotes, and 35 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime causes theory; Economic influences; Pay rates; Poverty and crime
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