Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More Men, More Crime

Sure, it’s China, but do you really doubt it applies to everybody else, too?

Crime rates almost doubled in China between 1992 and 2004. Over the same period, sex ratios (males to females) in the crime-prone ages of 16-25 years rose sharply, from 1.053 to 1.093. Although scarcity of females is commonly believed to be a source of male antisocial behavior, a causal link has been difficult to establish. Sex-ratio variation is typically either small or related to social conditions liable to also affect crime rates. This paper exploits two unique features of the Chinese experience: the change in the sex ratio was both large and mainly in response to the implementation of the one-child policy. Using annual province-level data covering the years 1988-2004, we find that a 0.01 increase in the sex ratio raised the violent and property crime rates by some 5-6%, suggesting that the increasing maleness of the young adult population may account for as much as a third of the overall rise in crime. (h/t Psychology and Crime News)

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