Economic Inequality, Legitimacy, and Cross-National Homicide Rates
This research is concerned with explicating and modeling the causal linkages from economic inequality to homicide among nation-states. Specifically, the authors posit that the effect of economic inequality on cross-national homicide rates is mediated by the perceived legitimacy of the system of stratification; that is, the effect of economic inequality on cross-national homicide rates should be substantially attenuated once perceived legitimacy is controlled. The authors test this hypothesis with data from 33 of the 44 nation-states that participated in the third wave of the World Values Survey. Negative binomial regression analyses reveal that perceptions of legitimacy do not mediate the effects of economic inequality on homicide. However, they do indicate that the impact of economic, and political, illegitimacy on homicide depends on the level of modernity. The implications of these findings for the economic inequality-homicide relationship are explored.