Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 155–173 | Cite as

Exploring the consequences of erratic data reporting for cross-national research on homicide

  • Steven F. Messner


This paper examines the common practice in cross-national research on homicide of using crime estimates for a multiyear period based on a smaller number of years than theoretically desired because of erratic data reporting for selected nations. Correlations between hypothetical baseline rates and various alternative estimates are examined to simulate the potential consequences of using temporally incomplete data rather than data for the full multiyear period of interest. The results reveal that this common practice is likely to be highly acceptable for certain national samples but less acceptable for others. The paper concludes with suggestions for dealing with potentially problematic cases.

Key words

homicide cross-national measurement 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Archer, D., and Gartner, R. (1984).Violence and Crime in Cross-National Perspective, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  2. Avison, W. R., and Loring, P. L. (1986). Population diversity and cross-national homicide: The effects of inequality and heterogeneity.Criminology 24: 733–749.Google Scholar
  3. Blau, J. R., and Blau, P. M. (1982). The cost of inequality: Metropolitan structure and violent crime.Am. Sociol. Rev. 47: 114–129.Google Scholar
  4. Braithwaite, J. (1979).Inequality, Crime, and Public Policy, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  5. Braithwaite, J., and Braithwaite, V. (1980). The effect of income inequality and social democracy on homicide.Br. J. Criminol. 20: 45–53.Google Scholar
  6. Clinard, M. B., and Abbott, D. (1973).Crime in Developing Countries, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Conklin, G. H., and Simpson, M. E. (1985). A demographic approach to the cross-nationa! study of homicide,Comp. Soc. Res. 8: 171–185.Google Scholar
  8. Durkheim, E. (1964).The Division of Labor in Society, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Durkheim, E. (1966).Suicide, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Engels, F. (1968).The Condition of the Working Class in England, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.Google Scholar
  11. Fiala, R., and LaFree, G. (1988). Cross-national determinants of child homicide.Am. Sociol. Rev. 53: 432–445.Google Scholar
  12. Gartner, R. (1990). The victims of homicide: A temporal and cross-national comparison.Am. Sociol. Rev. 55: 92–106.Google Scholar
  13. Gartner, R., Baker, K., and Pampel, F. C. (1990). Gender stratification and the gender gap in homicide victimization.Soc. Problems 37: 593–612.Google Scholar
  14. Goodman, A. W., and Ratti, J. S. (1979).Finite Mathematics with Applications, Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Hansmann, H. B., and Quigley, J. M. (1982). Population heterogeneity and the sociogenesis of homicide.Soc. Forces 61: 206–224.Google Scholar
  16. Huggins, M. (1985). Approaches to crime and societal development. In Tomasson, R. F. (ed.),Comparative Social Research, Vol. 8, JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, pp. 17–35.Google Scholar
  17. International Criminal Police Organization (1979–1988).International Crime Statistics, Interpol, Saint Cloud, France.Google Scholar
  18. Kick, E. L., and LaFree, G. D. (1985). Development and the social context of murder and theft.Comp. Soc. Res. 8: 37–58.Google Scholar
  19. Kohn, M. L. (1987). Cross-national research as an analytic strategy.Am. Sociol. Rev. 53: 713–731.Google Scholar
  20. Krahn, H., Hartnagel, T. F., and Gartrell, J. W. (1986). Income inequality and homicide rates: Cross-national data and criminological theories.Criminology 24: 269–295.Google Scholar
  21. Krohn, M. D. (1976). Inequality, unemployment and crime: A cross-national analysis.Sociol. Q. 17: 303–313.Google Scholar
  22. Krohn, M. D., and Wellford, C. F. (1977). A static and dynamic analysis of crime and the primary dimensions of nations.Int. J. Criminol. Penol. 5: 1–16.Google Scholar
  23. LaFree, G. D., and Kick, E. L. (1986). Cross-national effects of developmental, distributional, and demographic variables on crime: A review and analysis.Int. Ann. Criminol. 24: 213–235.Google Scholar
  24. McDonald, L. (1976).The Sociology of Law and Order, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  25. Messner, S. F. (1982). Societal development, social equality, and homicide: A cross-national test of a Durkheimian model.Soc. Forces 61: 225–240.Google Scholar
  26. Messner, S. F. (1988). Research on cultural and socioeconomic factors in criminal violence.Psychiat. Clin. No. Am. 11: 511–525.Google Scholar
  27. Messner, S. F. (1989). Economic discrimination and societal homicide rates: Further evidence on the cost of inequality.Am. Sociol. Rev. 54: 597–611.Google Scholar
  28. Neuman, W. L., and Berger, R. J. (1988). Competing perspectives on cross-national crime: An evaluation of theory and evidence.Sociol. Q. 29: 281–313.Google Scholar
  29. Parsons, T. (1966).Societies: Evolutionary and Comparative Perspectives, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar
  30. Shichor, D. (1990). Crime patterns and socioeconomic development: A cross-national analysis.Crime Just. Rev. 15: 64–78.Google Scholar
  31. Skogan, W. G. (1984). Reporting crimes to the police: The status of world research.J. Res. Crime Delinq. 21: 113–137.Google Scholar
  32. Toby, J. (1979). Societal evolution and criminality: A Parsonian view.Soc. Problems 26: 386–391.Google Scholar
  33. Vigderhous, G. (1978). Methodological problems confronting cross-cultural criminological research using official data.Hum. Relat. 31: 229–247.Google Scholar
  34. Wellford, C. F. (1974). Crime and the dimensions of nations.Int. J. Criminol. Penol. 2: 1–10.Google Scholar
  35. Wilkins, L. T. (1980). World crime: To measure or not to measure? In Newman, G. (ed.),Crime and Deviance: A Comparative Perspective, Sage, Beverly Hills, CA, pp. 17–41.Google Scholar
  36. Wolf, P. (1971). Crime and development: An international comparison of crime rates.Scand. Stud. Criminol. 3: 107–120.Google Scholar
  37. World Health Organization (1980–1988).World Health Statistics Annual, World Health Organization, Geneva.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven F. Messner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity at Albany, SUNYAlbany

Personalised recommendations