Applying Messner and Rosenfeld's Institutional Anomie Theory: Homicide Rates at the Neighborhood Level

John D. Reitzel, University of Florida
David N. Khey, University of Florida

Messner and Rosenfeld's institutional anomie theory makes the claim that serious crinme, particularly violent crime such as homicide, will be more prevalent when economic instituions overpower non-economic institutions. To date, only a handful of studies have examined their theory, and most of these have focused on larger contextual units such as states and nations. In this paper, we employ data from one large mid-western city to examine whether institutional anomie theory can explain variation in hgomicide rates at the local level. Specifically, we will test whether institutional imbalance of power significantly affects neighborhood homicide rates.

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Updated 05/20/2006