What determines crime rates? An empirical test of integrated economic and sociological theories of criminal behavior

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract Research on crime has by no means reached a definitive conclusion on which factors are related to crime rates. We contribute to the crime literature by providing an integrated empirical model of economic and sociological theories of criminal behavior and by using a very comprehensive set of economic, social as well as demographic explanatory variables. We use panel data techniques to estimate this integrated crime model for property and violent crime using the entire population of all 100 counties in North Carolina for the years 2001-2005. Both fields contribute to the explanatory power of the integrated model. Our results support the economic explanation of crime with respect to the deterrent effect of the probabilities of arrest and imprisonment concerns, as well as the time allocation model of criminal activities. In contrast, the integrated model seems to reject the impact of the severity of punishment on crime levels. With respect to the sociological theories of crime, we find most support for the social disorganization theory and for the routine activity theory. Finally, we find differences between property and violent crimes, mostly explained by the sociological models.
Authors Engelen, Peter-Jan; Lander, Michel & van Essen, Marc
Journal or Publication Title The Social Science Journal
Language English
Keywords Crime; Property crime; Violent crime; Deterrence; Integrated model
Subjects social sciences
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date June 2016
Publisher Elsevier
Place of Publication Amsterdam
Volume 53
Number 2
Page Range 247-262
Number of Pages 16
ISSN 0362-3319
ISSN-Digital 1873-5355
Publisher DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soscij.2015.09.001
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Marc van Essen
Date Deposited 08 Jan 2016 13:19
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:26
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/246578

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Citation

Engelen, Peter-Jan; Lander, Michel & van Essen, Marc (2016) What determines crime rates? An empirical test of integrated economic and sociological theories of criminal behavior. The Social Science Journal, 53 (2). 247-262. ISSN 0362-3319

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https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/id/eprint/246578
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