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The unequal crime drop: Changes over time in the distribution of crime among individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2017 (English)In: European Journal of Criminology, ISSN 1477-3708, E-ISSN 1741-2609, Vol. 14, no 5, 586-605 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Since the 1990s, many countries, including Sweden, have seen declining crime levels. In this article, we study whether this general trend is concealing differences between different social groups. In contrast to the few studies that have to date examined the issue of inequality in the crime drop, we focus on the social background of offenders rather than crime victims. We analyse register data covering three entire Swedish birth cohorts, in which convictions data have been linked to data on parental incomes. In this way, we are able to examine changes over time in the distribution of crime among individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Our results show that crime trends differ by socioeconomic background: decreases in crime (theft offences) are greater among the more affluent, and increases (violent crime) are primarily located among the lower levels of the income distribution. This produces an increasing inequality in the conviction risk, primarily among men. Different mechanisms that can contribute to an understanding of why crime has become increasingly concentrated among less affluent social groups are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 14, no 5, 586-605 p.
Keyword [en]
Convictions data, crime trend, inequality, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Criminology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137315DOI: 10.1177/1477370816682979OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-137315DiVA: diva2:1061788
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01201
Available from: 2017-01-03 Created: 2017-01-03 Last updated: 2017-10-05Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, AndersEstrada, FelipeBäckman, Olof
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