Do theories of crime or violence explain race differences in delinquency?

Richard B. Felson, Glenn Deane, David P. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examine race differences in delinquency using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We use a new method that permits an examination of offense specialization. We argue that an examination of offense patterns provides an opportunity for testing theoretical explanations of race effects. If race differences in violent crime reflect race differences in serious crime, then theories of crime can explain race effects. Otherwise, theories of violence are needed to explain the phenomenon. Our results suggest that black adolescents have higher rates of violence, particularly armed violence, but they do not have higher rates of serious (or minor) property or drug crime. Race differences in violence are generally stronger for adolescents who would otherwise be at lower risk: girls and adolescents from educated and intact families. Puerto Rican adolescents also have higher rates of violence than Anglos, but other Hispanic groups do not. We conclude with a discussion of the implication of the empirical literature (including our results) for various theoretical explanations of race differences in violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-641
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Research
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008

Fingerprint

delinquency
offense
violence
adolescent
examination
violent crime
specialization
longitudinal study
drug
health
Group

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Felson, Richard B. ; Deane, Glenn ; Armstrong, David P. / Do theories of crime or violence explain race differences in delinquency?. In: Social Science Research. 2008 ; Vol. 37, No. 2. pp. 624-641.
@article{4bdbf1220cb340f696af3271ff32de81,
title = "Do theories of crime or violence explain race differences in delinquency?",
abstract = "We examine race differences in delinquency using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We use a new method that permits an examination of offense specialization. We argue that an examination of offense patterns provides an opportunity for testing theoretical explanations of race effects. If race differences in violent crime reflect race differences in serious crime, then theories of crime can explain race effects. Otherwise, theories of violence are needed to explain the phenomenon. Our results suggest that black adolescents have higher rates of violence, particularly armed violence, but they do not have higher rates of serious (or minor) property or drug crime. Race differences in violence are generally stronger for adolescents who would otherwise be at lower risk: girls and adolescents from educated and intact families. Puerto Rican adolescents also have higher rates of violence than Anglos, but other Hispanic groups do not. We conclude with a discussion of the implication of the empirical literature (including our results) for various theoretical explanations of race differences in violence.",
author = "Felson, {Richard B.} and Glenn Deane and Armstrong, {David P.}",
year = "2008",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.ssresearch.2007.08.001",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "37",
pages = "624--641",
journal = "Social Science Research",
issn = "0049-089X",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "2",

}

Do theories of crime or violence explain race differences in delinquency? / Felson, Richard B.; Deane, Glenn; Armstrong, David P.

In: Social Science Research, Vol. 37, No. 2, 01.06.2008, p. 624-641.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Do theories of crime or violence explain race differences in delinquency?

AU - Felson, Richard B.

AU - Deane, Glenn

AU - Armstrong, David P.

PY - 2008/6/1

Y1 - 2008/6/1

N2 - We examine race differences in delinquency using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We use a new method that permits an examination of offense specialization. We argue that an examination of offense patterns provides an opportunity for testing theoretical explanations of race effects. If race differences in violent crime reflect race differences in serious crime, then theories of crime can explain race effects. Otherwise, theories of violence are needed to explain the phenomenon. Our results suggest that black adolescents have higher rates of violence, particularly armed violence, but they do not have higher rates of serious (or minor) property or drug crime. Race differences in violence are generally stronger for adolescents who would otherwise be at lower risk: girls and adolescents from educated and intact families. Puerto Rican adolescents also have higher rates of violence than Anglos, but other Hispanic groups do not. We conclude with a discussion of the implication of the empirical literature (including our results) for various theoretical explanations of race differences in violence.

AB - We examine race differences in delinquency using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We use a new method that permits an examination of offense specialization. We argue that an examination of offense patterns provides an opportunity for testing theoretical explanations of race effects. If race differences in violent crime reflect race differences in serious crime, then theories of crime can explain race effects. Otherwise, theories of violence are needed to explain the phenomenon. Our results suggest that black adolescents have higher rates of violence, particularly armed violence, but they do not have higher rates of serious (or minor) property or drug crime. Race differences in violence are generally stronger for adolescents who would otherwise be at lower risk: girls and adolescents from educated and intact families. Puerto Rican adolescents also have higher rates of violence than Anglos, but other Hispanic groups do not. We conclude with a discussion of the implication of the empirical literature (including our results) for various theoretical explanations of race differences in violence.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=43049087089&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=43049087089&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2007.08.001

DO - 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2007.08.001

M3 - Article

C2 - 19069062

AN - SCOPUS:43049087089

VL - 37

SP - 624

EP - 641

JO - Social Science Research

JF - Social Science Research

SN - 0049-089X

IS - 2

ER -