Climate change and interpersonal violence: a “global” estimate and regional inequities

Abstract

This study estimates the predicted impact of climate change on levels of violence in a sample of 57 countries. We sample western and non-western countries and perform a multilevel ARFIMA regression to examine if warmer temperatures are associated with higher levels of homicide. Our results indicate that each degree Celsius increase in annual temperatures is associated with a nearly 6 % average increase in homicides. Regional variation in this predicted effect is detected, for example, with no apparent effects in former Soviet countries and far stronger effects found in Africa. Such variation indicates that climate change may acutely increase violence in areas that already are affected by higher levels of homicides and other social dislocations.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Please refer to the supplementary materials for more details on the data and analysis.

  2. 2.

    Many smaller countries with infrequent homicides and a small population were excluded. Please see the Appendix for more details.

  3. 3.

    The Appendix outlines the practical steps we took to select sites and temperature readings.

  4. 4.

    Baseline models with temperature as the only independent variable are available in the Appendix.

  5. 5.

    The Appendix furnishes additional information on all variables, including a correlation matrix between the dependent variable and all independent variables. The Appendix also includes several independent variables that we did not use in the models reported here. Moreover, we provide a selection of models that include at least some of these independent variables in the Appendix.

  6. 6.

    Countries included in our sample: Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States, and Venezuela.

  7. 7.

    We estimated a fixed effects models using the same independent variables as those contained in Table 1. The results are substantially similar to those that are reported here, and are contained in the Appendix.

  8. 8.

    We estimated a multilevel model, without using the ARFIMA technique using the same independent variables as those contained in Table 1. The results are substantially similar to those that are reported here, and are contained in the Appendix.

  9. 9.

    For more precise calculations of unit and standard deviation change effects, please refer to the supplementary materials.

  10. 10.

    The supplemental materials provide more information about and the specific results of the models referenced in this paragraph.

  11. 11.

    Some of these results are modeled in the Appendix (i.e., country/year fixed effects and removing one control variable at a time), or are contained in the supplemental materials.

  12. 12.

    These same robustness checks were run on the fixed effects and multilevel modeling (without ARFIMA) techniques that are referenced in earlier parts of this paper. The results are strikingly similar to those that are reported here.

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Acknowledgments

The data used for this study are described and accessible through the Appendix and supplementary materials sections.

The research in this manuscript was supported by an internal seed grant received from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville by the corresponding author.

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Correspondence to Dennis M. Mares.

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Mares, D.M., Moffett, K.W. Climate change and interpersonal violence: a “global” estimate and regional inequities. Climatic Change 135, 297–310 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-015-1566-0

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Keywords

  • Climate Change
  • Land Surface Temperature
  • Interpersonal Violence
  • Homicide Rate
  • Routine Activity Theory