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Social disorganization theory and crime in the advanced countries: Two centuries of evidence

Zeresh Errol, Jakob Madsen and Solmaz Moslehi

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2021, vol. 191, issue C, 519-537

Abstract: According to social disorganization theory, a well-developed family and community structure is a pre-condition for low crime rates. Using annual data for 16 advanced countries constructed for two centuries, this paper examines the extent to which the changing family and community structures over the past two centuries have influenced the evolution of crime. Furthermore, we test whether a weakened family structure has a stronger effect on crime in communities with weak social networks by allowing for the interaction between urbanization (community network) and divorce rates (family network). Broadly, we find that changes in family and community structures and their interaction have been influential for the evolution of crime rates since 1810.

Keywords: Violent crime; Property crime; Social disorganization theory; History of crime (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2021.09.017

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:191:y:2021:i:c:p:519-537