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An Empirical Study on China’s Crime Rates

Author: ChenYiLi
Tutor: HuangShaoAn
School: Shandong University
Course: Political Economics
Keywords: crime income distribution gap national education modernization deterrent effect empirical study
CLC: D917
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 1094
Quote: 22
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Crime is a topic concerned with law, sociology, economics and many other disciplines. In China, the criminology is attached to the Criminal Law, the input of researchers and research resource are still very limited and so criminology in China are very backward. However, in foreign countries, a number of scholars develop criminology from different angles and use different methods to carry out their studies, the economics of crime is such a study. The economics of crime originated in the late 1960s, although his history is so short, it has very fruitful achievements. Now it has been one of the most successful areas in the economics of imperialism.In China, few scholars use economic analysis to carry out their researches on crime. But overseas studies show that economics particularly econometrics are very suitable for the empirical studies. Now empirical studies of criminology have been almost inseparable from econometrics. We carry out our research on China’s crime issues by economic especially econometric approach. Specifically, we want to know: whether socioeconomic factors have impact on China’s crime, which factors have given important influence on crime and which factors are comparatively minor, what difference socioeconomic factors affect on property crime and violent crime, how about China’s inter-provincial differences in crime, what factors resulted in the differences and the importance of various factors. Because the domestic researches on crime are more qualitative researches and relative lack of empirical researches, so our study mainly is an empirical research and only a few normative studies in some places.We arrange our researches as follows. First, summarize the theoretical studies on crime, which give a theoretical basis for next research. Second, we concern on what impact have been gave on total crime rates by some socioeconomic factors including income distribution gap, national education, urbanization and so on. We also study another important topic—deterrent effect. We take advantage of China’s data and construct four indicators to measure the probability of punishment and severity of punishment to test the applicability of deterrent theory in China and its unique places. After the study on total crime rates we will investigate two important crimes (property crime and violent crime). We considered factors such as the income distribution gap, national education and urbanization, we also considered the per capita GDP, welfare, and violent crime considered the population structure, the divorce rate and other factors. All front studies focused on the changes of crime in time series, in the fifth chapter, we will focus on the distribution of crime in China’s province, we constructed Theil index to reflect the inter-provincial differences in crime and decompose Theil index to show the composition of inter-provincial differences. We try to explain the differences of crime rates in China’s inter-province from the view of macroeconomic factors. The final chapter is a summary of the research findings, including the reliability of the conclusions, as well as shortcomings of our research. We also display some directions worth continuing to study, in the end discuss some normative significations of our findings.After a brief introduction, we reviewed the theoretical research on crime by economic analysis. ChapterⅡreviewed the thoughts with utilitarian style of two great thinkers——Bentham and Beccaria, the representatives of classical school of crime. Although their research can not be considered modern economic research, their thoughts contained the essence of economics of crime, and their studies have laid a solid theoretical foundation of modern deterrent theory for the subsequent economic research on deterrence. In the studies of deterrent theory, it can be said, on the whole, the subsequent researches have not exceeded the two thinkers’ horizon. After the two great thinkers’ thoughts, we review Becker’s classic literature in 1968, it was his literature opened the prelude of modern economic research on crime. Since then, economics of crime have made great progress. So we review the subsequent theoretical researches step by step in accordance with its time sequence.ChapterⅡis on the total crime rates in China. We take into account two aspects, the first are macro socioeconomic factors, including income distribution gap, national education, urbanization and so on, the second is punishment. In the first section, we find that the income distribution gap have a significant impact on China’s crime rates, national education also have a significant impact, income distribution gap increase China’s crime rate while national education decrease. Urbanization has induced a great increase of China’s crime rates. In the second section, we construct four indicators to measure the probability of punishment and the severity of punishment (the probability of detection, probability of arrest, probability of prosecution and the rate of severe punishment), the empirical results show that the probability of punish and the severity of punishment have significant deterrence on crime, the probability of detection have the greatest deterrent effect in the four factors, and all of these give less deterrence on violent crime.ChapterⅣrespectively inspects the property crime and violent crime. In the study of property crime rates we find that the income distribution gap and economic growth have a significant impact on property crime, income distribution gap result in an increase of property crime and economic growth lead to decrease, but the former gave more influence on property crime than the latter. We also find that property crime have an obvious inertia characteristics and other factors such as per capita GDP, the social welfare relief and other factors have not significant impact on property crime. In violent crime section we find that the income distribution gap whatever in nation、cities、countryside or between cities and country all give a remarkable impact on violent crime rates. Improvement of national education can reduce violent crime rates, the sex ratio、family disruption and urbanization have an influence on violent crime rates too, the violent crime rates have a inertia apparently.ChapterⅤon China’s inter-provincial differences in crime. We mainly use Theil index to describe the inter-provincial differences in crime, the results show that the Theil index has a rising trend overall. Through the decomposition of Theil index we find that the difference in region is the dominant proportion, it accounts for at least 60 percent. Through the inspection of three regions internal difference in crime we find that there are many distinctions between their internal differences and differences in whole country. We still try to explain the difference from the perspective of macro socioeconomic factors, our empirical study find that the income distribution gap and the degree of modernization can explain the inter-provincial differences in crime, a number of other factors are not important as these two factors . ChapterⅥis a summary of the studies. First we give an overview of the main conclusions of our research and discuss the reliability of the conclusions. We also point out the deficiencies of our research and some further research directions worth deepened. Second we analyze the normative significances of our conclusions to China’s criminal policy.

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