Explaining U.S. Exceptionalism in Homicide over Time: The Role of the Welfare State and Age Structure

Aaron Gottlieb, Princeton University

Using data from 17 advanced democracies from 1960 to 2010, I explore why advanced democracies vary in homicide rates, and why the homicide rate in the U.S. is so much higher than in other similar countries. Results suggest that both the welfare state and age structure are critical for understanding this variation. Specifically, countries that tend to rely on the market for the provision of welfare state services (like the U.S.) have higher homicide rates. Moreover, countries with youthful age structures (like the U.S.) have higher homicide rates. Finally, countries with the combination of a heavy reliance on the market for the provision of welfare state services and a youthful age structure tend to have particularly high homicide rates.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P2. Data and Methods/Applied Demography/ Spatial Demography/ Demography of Crime