Global Development and Crime
- Mahesh K. Nalla, Mahesh K. NallaDepartment of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University
- Gregory J. HowardGregory J. HowardDepartment of Criminology, Western Michigan University
- and Graeme R. NewmanGraeme R. NewmanDepartment of Criminal Justice, University at Albany
One common claim about crime is that it is driven in particular ways by development. Whereas the classic civilization thesis asserts that development will yield declining crime rates, the conflict tradition in criminology as well as the modernization school expect rises in crime rates, although for different reasons. Notwithstanding a raft of empirical investigations into the matter, an association between development and crime has not been consistently demonstrated. The puzzling results in the literature may be owing to the challenges in conceptualizing and operationalizing development. They are also almost certainly attributable to the serious problems related to the cross-national measurement of crime. Given the current state of knowledge and the prospects for future research, evidence reportedly bearing on the development and crime relationship should be received with ample caution and skepticism. Refinements in measurement practices and research strategies may remedy the extant situation, but for now the relationship between development and crime is an open and complicated question.