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Labor Market Structure, Unemployment, and Crime: The Indirect Effect of Low-Skill Jobs on Homicide and Theft in 26 Countries (From Sociology of Crime, Law, and Deviance, Volume 1, P 49-64, 1998, Jeffery T. Ulmer, ed. -- See NCJ-180783)

NCJ Number
Matthew R. Lee; Edward S. Shihadeh
Date Published
16 pages
Interpol data on crime in 26 countries during 1965-84 formed the basis of an analysis of the direct and indirect relationship between the availability of low-skills jobs and the rates of homicide and theft.
Low-skill, entry-level jobs have historically facilitated social mobility. However, data from the late 1970's and early 1980's confirms that many countries have witnessed a decline in the availability of such jobs. This shift in the structure of the labor force has resulted in high rates of unemployment among low-skill workers and may relate to high crime rates. The present analysis modeled the relationships between job availability and crime in the 26 countries in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. The study standardized the rates of homicide and major and minor thefts as rates per 100,000, using United Nations population data. The research used a pooled cross-sectional design and an ordinary least-squares estimator as the main analytical technique. Results revealed that a decline in the availability of low-skill work increases crime rates indirectly by first raising rates of unemployment. Findings supported a macro-social link between serious crime and cross-national variations in labor market structure. Findings also demonstrated the usefulness of examining both direct and indirect effects. Tables, notes, appended definitions, and 47 references (Author abstract modified)