skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 193221 Find in a Library
Title: Longitudinal Analysis of the Welfare-Homicide Relationship: Testing Two (Nonreductionist) Macro-Level Theories
Journal: Homicide Studies  Volume:6  Issue:1  Dated:February 2002  Pages:39-60
Author(s): Mitchell B. Chamlin; John K. Cochran; Christopher T. Lowenkamp
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 22
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the macro-level association between welfare and homicide within the United States.
Abstract: Welfare transfers have been found to exhibit negative, partial effects on homicide rates. However, it may be necessary to reexamine this association with longitudinal data to gain a better understanding of the causal mechanisms that underlie the ecological relationship between welfare and homicide. There are two nonreductionist macro-level explanations for the covariation between welfare and homicide. The first is the social altruism hypothesis, which focuses on the influence of charitable acts, both public and private, on rates of criminal behavior. The second is the social threat hypothesis, which focuses on the relationship between threatening acts and/or threatening populations and mechanisms of beneficent (welfare) and coercive (law enforcement) forms of social control. The hypotheses are: (1) to the extent that welfare transfers negatively affect homicide, their impact is likely to be limited to homicides among family members; and (2) to the extent that the level of welfare increases in response to the social threat produced by an increase in homicide, the response would most likely be limited to felony homicides. Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) techniques were used to disentangle the reciprocal relationship between total and disaggregated counts of homicide and welfare transfers within Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Results show that felony homicides, most likely to be perceived as threatening to social elites, are unrelated to welfare recipients. The number of welfare recipients per month is negatively associated with the monthly level of family homicides (one-month lag) but exhibit null effects with the monthly level of homicides involving persons with more distal relational ties (friends, acquaintances, strangers). These findings are consistent with the macro-level proposition that beneficent acts promote altruistic values, which reduce the incidence of crime, especially among those who already have established bonds of mutual interest and caring. 3 tables, 8 notes, 52 references
Main Term(s): Homicide causes; Welfare services
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Crime Causes; Family homicide; Family support; Felony murder; Income maintenance programs; Low income target groups
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.