Crime and Ethnic Diversity: Cross-country Evidence

Posted: 12 Dec 2018

Date Written: August 31, 2017


Is the level of crime in countries explained by ethnic diversity? This study attempts to answer this question by providing empirical evidence that examines the effects of ethnic and linguistic fractionalization on various measures of crime rates, including prosecution and conviction rates. Drawing on data across 78 countries, our study addresses the endogenous nature of the association between ethnic diversity and crime. Our empirical findings show, rather unexpectedly and counter-intuitively, that higher levels of ethnic and linguistic diversity tend to aid in the reduction of crime rates and, consequently, lead to lower prosecution and conviction rates. We advance possible reasons for this unexpected result, and outline some policy recommendations.

Keywords: crime, prosecution, conviction, ethnic diversity, fractionalization

Suggested Citation

Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa and Laryea, Emmanuel, Crime and Ethnic Diversity: Cross-country Evidence (August 31, 2017). Available at SSRN:

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000

Emmanuel Laryea (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800

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