Alcohol Consumption and the Spatial Distribution of Homicide Rates in Russia

William Alex Pridemore, University of Oklahoma
Sang Weon Kim, University of Oklahoma

The Russian homicide rate has been comparable to that of the United States for at least the last 35 years, and the rate increased dramatically during the transition of the 1990s. The Russian homicide victimization rate is now more than three times higher than in the U.S. but still varies widely throughout the country. Several sociologists, demographers, and public health researchers have partially attributed the increase and the wide range of variation to heightened levels of alcohol consumption. This study employs newly available mortality and socioeconomic data from Russia to test the cross-sectional aspect of this hypothesis. Specifically, data from the 89 Russian regions are employed to estimate the effects of aggregate levels of alcohol consumption on regional homicide rates, controlling for the commonly tested structural covariates of homicide. Contrary to findings from the United States, the results indicate a positive and significant relationship between alcohol consumption and homicide rates in Russia.

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Updated 05/20/2006