Translating Macro-Level Social Structure Into National Crime Rates Using Akers' Social Structure Social Learning Theory to Empirically Evaluate LaFree's Institutional Legitimacy Theory

T. Hank Robinson, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Like many macro-/meso-level explanations of crime, the initial promise of LaFree's Institutional Legitimacy Theory initial diminishes as one attempts to develop a testable model and valid measures directly from his original concepts. Using Akers' cross-level integrated Social Structure Social Learning Theory, however, LaFree's explanation can be reformulated to fit an existing model which presents a credible mechanism suggesting the causal order, direction of variation and strength of effect LaFree suggests. This presentation illustrates one approach theorists can consider for bridging the stubborn gap between social structures and social processes.

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Updated 05/20/2006