The relationship between income inequality and violent crime

I have blogged a number of times about the really important book “The Spirit Level” which I reviewed here. The core message of the work can be simply stated: on a whole range of significant social indicators, countries with less inequality do markedly better than those with greater inequality.

The arguments in the book are being promoted on a wider and longer-term basis through a charity called the Equality Trust. This week, the Equality Trust released its first quarterly Research Digest – a review of what the wider academic literature is saying about income inequality and its effects.

Issue #1 focuses on the effects of income inequality on violent crime. In brief:

* There is a relationship between inequality and homicide. It has been found in many different settings.
* Research has shown that small reductions in income inequality cause large reductions in homicide.
* This relationship seems to be part of a more generally divisive effect of inequality, which weakens the social fabric.

You can read the digest here.


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