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Labor market conditions and violent crime across the metro–nonmetro divide

Authors
Journal
Social Science Research
0049-089X
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
37
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2007.09.001
Keywords
  • Labor Markets
  • Violence
  • Nonmetropolitan
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Economics

Abstract

Abstract This analysis extends prior research on labor market conditions and violent crime. Specifically, we elaborate on research demonstrating a link between poor labor market conditions and violence by directly measuring the associations between secondary sector work, low hour work, low pay work, and levels of violence across the metro–nonmetro divide. The results demonstrate that low paying work tends to be more similar to other forms of social disadvantage such as poverty and unemployment. In contrast, secondary sector work and low hour work are empirically distinct constructs. Consistent with prior research, multivariate analyses indicate that the pernicious effect of secondary sector work is relatively constant across metro and nonmetro areas. However, contrary to the logic articulated in previous studies, we find that an index of low hour and seasonal employment is actually associated with lower violent crime rates across the metro–nonmetro divide. This finding is consonant with the assertion that the availability of low hour and seasonal employment—work that is often viewed as less than optimal—provides downward pressure on crime rates because it structures ecological behavior patterns and enhances attachments to institutions cultivating conventional behavior.

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