More Men, More Crime

From looking at the jail population, we know that blokes in most countries commit at least 4 out of 5 major crimes. But now it looks as though the same is also true in aggregate.

More Men, More Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy
Lena Edlund (Columbia University and IZA)
Hongbin Li (Chinese University of Hong Kong and Tsinghua University)
Junjian Yi (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Junsen Zhang (Chinese University of Hong Kong and IZA)
Crime rates almost doubled in China between 1992 and 2004. Over the same period, sex ratios (males to females) in the crime-prone ages of 16-25 years rose sharply, from 1.053 to 1.093. Although scarcity of females is commonly believed to be a source of male antisocial behavior, a causal link has been difficult to establish. Sex-ratio variation is typically either small or related to social conditions liable to also affect crime rates. This paper exploits two unique features of the Chinese experience: the change in the sex ratio was both large and mainly in response to the implementation of the one-child policy. Using annual province-level data covering the years 1988-2004, we find that a 0.01 increase in the sex ratio raised the violent and property crime rates by some 5-6%, suggesting that the increasing maleness of the young adult population may account for as much as a third of the overall rise in crime.

Conversely, Australian university campuses have been becoming more female-dominated over the same period. I wonder if this has led to a fall in the number of crimes committed by university students?

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9 Responses to More Men, More Crime

  1. Eric says:

    The big question is, why did so many Chinese parents want boys when it was clear that men would struggle to find a wife, while women could take their pick!

    It’s interesting to look at the gender ratios of immigrant groups in Australia – most East Asian nationalities have a female bias (esp Filipinos), while Indians and Iraqis are more male. Not that unbalanced migration will do much to upset the ratios in source countries, although there must be lots of male students at some Asian unis – better check their crime rates.

  2. conrad says:

    The answer to that is easy Eric — try sleeping on the streets of Shenzhen for a few weeks, and then see if you think a few dollars a week makes a difference to someone earning almost nothing.

  3. ChrisPer says:

    Changing sex ratios at Australian universities might affect other things far more than crime rates.

    – Should architecture modify the oppressive over-supply of mens toilet cubicles compared with wimmins?
    – Will less rugby be played, less rowing, and more Netball?
    – Can parking bays be reduced in size to squeeze in more Corolla hatchbacks and Daihatsu Charades? Can we reduce the number of motorcycle bays?
    – Will fewer aggressive cyclists be mowing down pedestrians on University walkways?

    This whole issue of males being more aggressive has real ramifications.

  4. conrad says:

    There is actually quite a serious issue about the ratio of men/women in Australian universities. At present, the current ratio is a about 2 to 3. Given that people like to marry others with a similar level of education, it means that unless this social phenomena changes, there are going to be a lot of dissapointed females with degrees and dissapointed males without degrees. Apart from the dissapointment, this is problematic, as when the second of these groups don’t get married, they have a bad tendency toward poor mental health and crime. Similarly, when the first of these groups has children without fathers, they cost community more in child subdization costs.

  5. Conrad – When I pointed out this problem out in a CIS paper five years ago I won an Ernie award for sexism the following year, which I shared with the late Paddy McGuinness. The story is here.

  6. conrad says:

    Yes, I remember that. Any mention of gender or race and you’re the bad guy it appears. Who cares about reality? I hope some of the finger pointers get their cars stolen by someone from the group you were talking about (I wonder who’ll they’ll blame then — the inequities caused by the inequitable inequities that were not caused by ignoring this problem). You’ll be pleased to know when I clicked on that link, there was an advert for something that won’t pass this spam filter (think wives from countries that are not Australia), which is slightly ironic.

  7. Conrad – That ad is still there. A nice irony as you say, and further confirming my view that I should have no advertising on my blog. (And does that ad suggest that Catallaxy readers are men who can’t find wives??)

  8. Sinclair Davidson says:

    That’s a naughty comment, Andrew.

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