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NCJ Number: 221117 Find in a Library
Title: Cross-National Test of Bonger's Theory of Criminality and Economic Conditions
Journal: Criminology  Volume:45  Issue:Number 4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:925-958
Author(s): Olena Antonaccio; Charles R. Tittle
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 34
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The study tested two hypotheses from Bonger’s Marxian theory of crime.
Abstract: The findings of the analyses indicate that capitalism appears positively predictive of increased homicide rates as Bonger’s Marxian theory of crime contended in 1916. Bonger and others with Marxian orientations correctly attributed criminal significance to capitalism; however, the importance of capitalism in crime causation was overestimated and the mechanisms through which capitalism has its deleterious effects might have been misidentified. Using international data from 100 countries, the findings are consistent with Bonger’s theory that capitalism is a significant predictor of homicide rates, independent of other well-established predictors. However, although there was an indicator of demoralization to be significantly and independently predictive of homicide rates, corruption does not mediate the capitalism homicide relationship as Bonger’s theory implies. Capitalism is linked to homicide rates and may be an important influence on them, but the reason for that link does not seem to be demoralization, or corruption, stemming from capitalism. Capitalism alone does not provide an adequate explanation for rates of lethal violence, accounting for only a moderate amount of variation in homicide rates. Other important factors include structural conditions and cultural orientations, both of which seem to affect homicide rates. Of particular note is that in countries with a predominant Eastern religion, the direction of the association between capitalism and homicide rates actually is reversed. Capitalism cannot be regarded as the principal cause of homicide, and the reason for the deleterious effects of capitalism does not seem to be a tendency for individuals in capitalist societies to lose moral feelings for each other. Whereas corruption does seem to be one of the most potent variables for predicting homicide, it stands on its own, neither exceptionally well-related to capitalism, nor constituting the intervening link between capitalism and homicide. References, appendix A-B
Main Term(s): Crime causes theory; Economic analysis of crime; Economic influences; International crime statistics
Index Term(s): Capitalism; Correlation analysis; Homicide causes; Sociological analyses
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