Do the Marginalized Kill More during Holidays?
26 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2021 Last revised: 27 Aug 2021
Date Written: May 28, 2021
Objectives Criminologists have studied the link between homicides and holidays since 1970s (Lester, 1979); national holidays in the US are known to coincide with an increase in the daily homicide rate. However, this empirical regularity has been (a) observed mostly in the U.S. (b) under-theorized. The theory of the broken promises offers one explanation by positing that marginalized individuals demonstrate a greater propensity towards lethal violence than their peers who are more integrated into society (Stack, 1995b). The present study aims to test this theory on Russian data.
Methods We test this theoretical prediction empirically with the aid of the universe of decisions of Russian criminal courts in 2009–2012 on homicides (N = 63,908). We capitalize on rich information on socio-economic status of offenders at sentencing allows me to construct a daily count of homicides committed by marginalized and non-marginalized individuals at sentencing.
Results Contrary to the predictions of the broken promises theory we find that well-integrated individuals (employed first-time offenders) show greater propensity towards homicide during Russian national holidays than the marginalized groups. In fact, while the effect is present for both groups it is twice more potent for the integrated offenders. The magnitude of effect for well-integrated individuals is 89% (95 CI: 60–123) v. marginalized with 44% (95 CI: 23–67). Considering the alcohol effect the difference between these two groups become even more pronounced 106% (95 CI: 73–143) v. 44% (95 CI: 23–68).
Conclusions An alternative explanation, e.g. Routine Activity theory carries more weight when we explore holiday homicide nexus.
Keywords: homicide, holiday, broken promices, Russia
JEL Classification: K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation