Do Frustrated Economic Expectations and Objective Economic Inequity Promote Crime?

European Journal of Criminology, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2009

25 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2015

See all articles by Cesar J. Rebellon

Cesar J. Rebellon

University of New Hampshire

Nicole Leeper Piquero

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

Alex R. Piquero

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences; Griffith University

Sherod Thaxton

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Although prior research concerning Agnew’s General Strain Theory (GST) has generated renewed support for the perspective, it remains limited in two critical ways. First, research tends to measure strain in terms of noxious stimuli while neglecting Agnew’s conception of strain as the disjunction between expected and actual outcomes or as the disjunction between fair and actual outcomes. Second, studies rely exclusively on correlational designs that preclude causal assertions about the relationships among strain, anger, and crime. This study addresses both limitations by conducting the first experimental test of GST. Results indicate that (1) respondents assigned at random to experimental conditions involving strain as a disjunction between expected and actual outcomes or between fair and actual outcomes report significantly higher levels of situational anger, (2) high levels of situational anger are significantly associated with a higher self-reported likelihood of engaging in theft from an employer, and (3) these relationships are not significantly conditioned by perceived social support.

Keywords: criminology, juvenile delinquency

Suggested Citation

Rebellon, Cesar J. and Piquero, Nicole Leeper and Piquero, Alex R. and Thaxton, Sherod, Do Frustrated Economic Expectations and Objective Economic Inequity Promote Crime? (2009). European Journal of Criminology, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2679202

Cesar J. Rebellon

University of New Hampshire ( email )

15 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
United States

Nicole Leeper Piquero

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) ( email )

1015 Floyd Avenue
Richmond, VA 23284
United States

Alex R. Piquero

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )

800 W. Campbell Road, GR31
Richardson, TX 75080
United States
972-883-2482 (Phone)
972-883-6572 (Fax)

Griffith University

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111
Australia

Sherod Thaxton (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.ucla.edu/faculty/faculty-profiles/sherod-thaxton

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