The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime.

This study examines the conditioning effect of welfare benefits on the relationship between resource deprivation and metropolitan crime rates. We analyzed aggregate data for a sample of large metropolitan counties in 1990 (N = 406). Our welfare measure combined the cost-of-living-adjusted public assistance payment per poor person and the public assistance participation rate among the poor. Our measure of resource deprivation included three highly correlated factors: family poverty rate, percent black, and percent of female-headed families. Regression analyses indicated that the prevalence of resource deprivation had signifirantly less effect on crime rates in areas with higher levels of welfare assistance. The results suggest that the amelioration of economic distress remains a viable strategy for reducing serious crime.

Main Author: Hannon, Lance.
Other Authors: Defronzo, James.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 1998
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dc_source_str_mv Social Problems 45(3), August 1998, 383-392.
author Hannon, Lance.
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Defronzo, James.
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The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime.
author-letter Hannon, Lance.
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dc_title_str The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime.
title The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime.
title_short The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime.
title_full The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime.
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dc.title The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime.
dc.creator Hannon, Lance.
Defronzo, James.
dc.description This study examines the conditioning effect of welfare benefits on the relationship between resource deprivation and metropolitan crime rates. We analyzed aggregate data for a sample of large metropolitan counties in 1990 (N = 406). Our welfare measure combined the cost-of-living-adjusted public assistance payment per poor person and the public assistance participation rate among the poor. Our measure of resource deprivation included three highly correlated factors: family poverty rate, percent black, and percent of female-headed families. Regression analyses indicated that the prevalence of resource deprivation had signifirantly less effect on crime rates in areas with higher levels of welfare assistance. The results suggest that the amelioration of economic distress remains a viable strategy for reducing serious crime.
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