Development and female crime: A crossnational test of alternative explanations

Darrell Steffensmeier, Emilie Allan, Cathy Streifel

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In this report, we use INTERPOL data from 69 countries to test four alternative explanations of the relation between development and the female percentage of arrests (FP/A): gender equality, female economic marginality, opportunities for female-based consumer crimes, and formalization of social control. An analysis of both the direct and indirect effects of development ms conducted to determine whether any or all of the alternative factors are mediating links between development and FP/A. The analysis revealed that the two explanations dealing with the relative social and economic status of women—gender equality and female economic marginality—were both poor predictors of FP/A. On the other hand, the other two explanations—opportunity for female-based consumer crimes and formalization of social control—were both found to be fairly good predictors of FP/A. At the end of the report, we offer several possible explanations for these findings, with particular focus on our failure to support the gender equality-crime hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-283
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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