Saturday, January 05, 2008

CRIMINOLOGY Abstracts, Part Two

From the latest Criminology, Vol. 45, No. 4:

Marian R. Williams; Stephen Demuth; Jefferson E. Holcomb
Understanding the Influence of Victim Gender in Death Penalty Cases: The Importance of Victim Race, Sex-Related Victimization, and Jury Decision Making
pp. 865-892

Using data from the Baldus, Woodworth, and Pulaski (1990) study of Georgia's death penalty system, we examine the influence of victim gender in death penalty cases. Furthermore, to improve our understanding of the meaning of victim gender, we consider (1) the joint effects of victim gender and victim race, (2) victimization characteristics that might explain victim gender effects, and (3) the impact of victim gender at different decision-making stages in the death penalty case process. We find that both victim gender and race are associated with death sentencing outcomes and that an examination of the joint effects of victim gender and race reveals considerable differences in the likelihood of receiving a death sentence between the most disparate victim race-gender groups. In particular, it seems that black male victim cases are set apart from all others in terms of leniency afforded to defendants. We also show that the effect of victim gender is explained largely by gender differences in the sexual nature of some homicides. An examination of prosecutorial and jury decision making reveals that although victim gender has little impact on prosecutorial decisions, it has a meaningful impact on jury decisions.

Derek A. Kreager
When It's Good to Be "Bad": Violence and Adolescent Peer Acceptance

This article examines the relationship between adolescent violence and peer acceptance in school. Deriving hypotheses from subcultural theories of crime and violence, it tests whether the violence-status relationship varies across sociodemographic characteristics and educational contexts of students. Analyses of school network data collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health sugges that violence generally holds a negative relationship to peer friendship nominations for both males and females. However, for males, this effect varies by the educational standing of the students. Violence shows a modest positive association to peer acceptance for males who perform poorly in school. No evidence exists that race moderates the violence-status relationship. These findings are replicated in longitudinal analyses of large metropolitan high school. For females, violence has a significant negative relationship to peer status that does not vary by individual characteristics. However, school levels of violence moderate the relationship between social status and female violence such that violent females have greater numbers of friendships in highly violent schools. The implications of these findings for peer research and delinquency theory are discussed.

Olena Antonaccio and Charles R. Tittle
A Cross-National Test of Bonger's Theory of Criminality and Economic Conditions
pp. 925-958

Using international data for 100 countries, we test two hypotheses derived from Bonger's Marxian theory of crime. The analyses support the hypothesis that the degree of capitalism significantly predicts homicide rates, but they fail to confirm that the de-moralization of the population (loss of moral feelings for others) mediates the relationship between capitalism and homicide. Although capitalism is not the best predictor among those considered, overall, the results underline the importance of Bonger's ideas because both capitalism and corruption (our indicator of de-moralization) show reasonably strong relationships with homicide rates and compete with other variables commonly used as predictors of international homicide rates. The results confirm the usefulness of attempting to subject Marxian ideas to positivist, quantitative tests, with an eye to integrating Marxian theories with other mainstream theories, such as institutional anomie theory.

Lening Zhang; Steven F. Messner; Jianhong Liu
An Exploration of the Determinants of Reporting Crime to the Police in the City of Tianjin, China
pp. 959-984

Western research has investigated three types of correlates of crime reporting--victim-specific (individual or household), incident-specific, and environment-specific variables. The current study applies this general, analytical framework to explore the determinants of crime reporting to the police in contemporary urban China. Using data collected from a recent survey of criminal victimization in Tianjin, we assess the determinants for reporting of robbery, assault, personal theft, and household burglary. The results consistently show that offense seriousness is a significant predictor of reporting for all offenses studied. Also, a nonlinear relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and reporting of burglary is found. In contrast, individual-specific and household-specific factors do not affect reporting, with the exception of a cumulative measure of victimization experience. Measures of neighborhood social cohesion and informal control are also not associated with reporting. The implications of these findings are discussed with reference to the unique neighborhood organizational infrastructure in urban China.

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