I wish to thank David Jacobs for continually forcing me to “explain myself” each time he read a draft of this paper. Thanks also to Patricia Gwartney-Gibbs, who reads much of my work in various stages of disarray, and to three anonymous reviewers of Criminology.
SEX RATIOS AND RAPE RATES: A POWERCONTROL THEORY†
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 99–114, February 1991
How to Cite
OBRIEN, R. M. (1991), SEX RATIOS AND RAPE RATES: A POWERCONTROL THEORY. Criminology, 29: 99–114. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1991.tb01060.x
Robert M. O'Brien is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon. He has published in the areas of criminology, measurement, stratification, and decision-making processes in toxic waste management. He is coauthor of Urban Structure and Criminal Victimization (with David Decker and David Shichor), author of Crime and Victimization Data, and coeditor of Controversies in Environmental Policy (with Sheldon Kamieniecki and Michael Clarke). Much of his recent work in criminology has examined the relationship between macrostructural variables and crime rates. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in 1973.
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Guttentag and Secord (1983) hypothesize that sex ratios (the number of men per 100 women) affect the roles of both men and women. They suggest that although high sex ratios decrease men 3 dyadic power, when sex ratios are high men use their structural power to control women. Their theory can be combined with the routine activities approach of Cohen and Felson (1979) or with a version of the power-threat/power-competition hypothesis of Blalock (1967) to develop a power-control theory dealing with the relationship between sex ratios and rape rates: i.e., when sex ratios are high, rape rates should be relatively low. Analyses of data from the United States for the years 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, and 1987 support this hypothesis.