Poverty, Socioeconomic Change, Institutional Anomie, and Homicide


  • *Direct correspondence to William Alex Pridemore, Indiana University, Department of Criminal Justice, Sycamore Hall 302, Bloomington, IN 47405〈wpridemo@indiana.edu〉; Sang Weon-Kim, Dong-Eui University, Department of Police Science, 995 Eomgwangno, Busanjin-gu, Busan 614-774, Korea〈sangkim@mail.deu.ac.kr〉. The authors will happily share all data and coding materials with those wishing to replicate the study. This research was supported by Grant 5 R21 AA 013958-02 awarded to the second author by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Points of view do not necessarily represent the official position of NIH/NIAAA. The authors thank Kelly Damphousse, Harold Grasmick, Wil Scott, and Brian Taylor for their helpful critiques of earlier drafts. The second author thanks the Davis Center at Harvard University, where he was a Research Fellow when this article was written.


Objective. This study examined institutional anomie theory in the context of transitional Russia.

Methods. We employed an index of negative socioeconomic change and measures of family, education, and polity to test the hypothesis that institutional strength conditions the effects of poverty and socioeconomic change on homicide rates.

Results. As expected, the results of models estimated using negative binomial regression show direct positive effects of poverty and socioeconomic change and direct negative effects of family strength and polity on regional homicide rates. There was no support, however, for the hypothesis that stronger social institutions reduce the effects of poverty and socioeconomic change on violence.

Conclusions. We interpret these results in the Russia-specific setting, concluding that Russia is a rich laboratory for examining the effects of social change on crime and that empirical research in other nations is important when assessing the generalizability of theories developed to explain crime and violence in the United States.