Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Edward S. Shihadeh

Abstract

This dissertation postulates that the economic transition from manufacturing to service employment is a major factor leading to high rates of economic deprivation and crime in major U.S. cities. By integrating theory and research from several substantive areas of sociology, I extend macro-level research in criminology and develop a social organization/social control explanation of city crime rates. I use both cross-sectional and longitudinal regression methods to investigate the direct and indirect effects of a city's industrial structure on race-disaggregated rates of homicide, robbery, and burglary. Based upon data from 113 major cities in the United States, I compute a series of structural equation models to estimate the direct and indirect effects of the relative size of the manufacturing sector on race-specific indicators of economic deprivation and rates of crime. I begin the research with an analysis of the proposed theoretical model using cross-sectional data for 1990. Then, I incorporate the dynamic nature of the restructuring process by investigating whether 1970 to 1990 change in a city's industrial structure is associated with change in measures of economic deprivation and rates of homicide, robbery and burglary. Both the cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses offer substantial support for the proposed theoretical model. Specifically, the results indicate that a decline in the relative size of the manufacturing sector increased rates of crime indirectly, by first increasing rates of property, joblessness, and income inequality. In addition, the findings from this study suggest that, contrary to expectations, the impact of economic restructuring has been experienced rather evenly by blacks and whites. The loss of manufacturing employment has similarly raised economic deprivation and serious crime among both race-groups. I conclude that by increasing levels of economic hardship and rates of criminal offending, economic restructuring has been a critical factor reducing the economic and social well-being of residents in major cities of the United States.

ISBN

9780591458411

Pages

161

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