A History of Violence: The Culture of Honor as a Determinant of Homicide in the US South
The University of New South Wales
August 25, 2011
According to the culture of honor hypothesis, the high prevalence of homicides in the US South originates from the settlement of the region by herders from the fringes of Britain. This paper confirms that Scot or Scots-Irish settlements are associated with higher homicide today, but only in the South. The effect is confined to white offenders and more pronounced where herding was more prevalent and institutional quality lower. Results indicate that other white settlers adopted the Scots-Irish culture. The interpretation is that the culture of honor persisted in the South as an adaptive behavior to economic vulnerability and weak institutions. Evidence also suggests that the Scots-Irish culture of honor continues to adapt: it is slowly depreciating over time. A positive effect of the culture of honor is to deter violent crime against women.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Cultural Persistence, Homicide, Institutions, Migration, Scots-Irish, US South
JEL Classification: K42, N31, O15, Z13working papers series
Date posted: August 27, 2011
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