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A History Of Violence: The Culture Of Honor And Homicide In The Us South

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  • Pauline Grosjean

Abstract

The paper tests the popular hypothesis that the high prevalence of homicide in the South of the United States originates from the settlement by herders from the fringes of Britain in the 18th century. I find that historical Scots-Irish presence is associated with higher contemporary homicide, particularly by white offenders, and that a culture of violence was transmitted to subsequent generations—but only in the South and, more generally, where historical institutional quality was low. The interpretation is that the Scots-Irish culture of honor prevailed and persisted as an adaptive behavior to weak institutions. As institutional quality converged between the South and North over the last 200 years, the influence of the culture of honor has been fading over time. The results are robust to controlling for state fixed effects and for a large number of historical and contemporary factors, as well as to relying on instrumental variables for historical settlements. The results are also specific to a particular type of homicide and background of settlers.

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  • Pauline Grosjean, 2014. "A History Of Violence: The Culture Of Honor And Homicide In The Us South," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(5), pages 1285-1316, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:12:y:2014:i:5:p:1285-1316
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12096
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Tur-Prats, 2015. "Family types and intimate-partner violence: A historical perspective," Economics Working Papers 1486, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Couttenier, Mathieu & Sangnier, Marc, 2015. "Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral resources and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 243-256.
    3. Eder, Christoph & Halla, Martin, 2017. "Economic Origins of Cultural Norms: The Case of Animal Husbandry and Bastardy," IZA Discussion Papers 10969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2017. "On the Joint Evolution of Culture and Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 12000, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Ager, Philipp & Hansen, Casper Worm, 2017. "Closing Heaven's Door: Evidence from the 1920s U.S. Immigration Quota Acts," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 11/2017, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
    6. repec:eee:wdevel:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:316-333 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bastien Chabé-Ferret, 2016. "Adherence to Cultural Norms and Economic Incentives: Evidence from Fertility Timing Decisions," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016023, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    8. Philipp Ager & Casper Worm Hansen, 2016. "National Immigration Quotas and Local Economic Growth," Discussion Papers 16-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    9. Stelios Michalopoulos & Louis Putterman & David Weil, 2016. "The Influence of Ancestral Lifeways on Individual Economic Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2016-1, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    10. Feigenbaum, James J. & Muller, Christopher, 2016. "Lead exposure and violent crime in the early twentieth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 51-86.
    11. Gershman, Boris, 2015. "The economic origins of the evil eye belief," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 119-144.
    12. Couttenier, Mathieu & Preotu, Veronica & Rohner, Dominic & Thoenig, Mathias, 2016. "The Violent Legacy of Victimization: Post-Conflict Evidence on Asylum Seekers, Crimes and Public Policy in Switzerland," CEPR Discussion Papers 11079, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Ana Tur-Prats, 2015. "Family Types and Intimate-Partner Violence: A Historical Perspective," Working Papers 835, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    14. Armin Falk & Anke Becker & Thomas Dohmen & Benjamin Enke & David B. Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2017. "Global Evidence on Economic Preferences," NBER Working Papers 23943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Mathieu Couttenier & Pauline Grosjean & Marc Sangnier, 2017. "The Wild West IS Wild: The Homicide Resource Curse," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 558-585.
    16. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Gerard Roland, 2015. "Culture, Institutions and Democratization," NBER Working Papers 21117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Castañeda Dower, Paul & Markevich, Andrei, 2014. "A history of resistance to privatization in Russia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 855-873.
    18. Couttenier, Mathieu & Sangnier, Marc, 2015. "Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral resources and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 243-256.
    19. Valeria Rueda & Guillaume Laval & Etienne Patin, 2016. "Achieving the American Dream: Cultural Distance, Cultural Diversity and Economic Performance," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _140, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    20. Ekaterina Borisova & Andrei Govorun & Denis Ivanov, 2016. "Bridging or Bonding? Preferences for Redistribution and Social Capital in Russia," Working Papers 05/2016, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Nov 2016.
    21. von Carnap-Bornheim, Tillmann, 2016. "Irrigation as a Determinant of Social Capital in India: A Large-Scale Survey Analysis," MPRA Paper 69270, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Samuel Bazzi & Martin Fiszbein & Mesay Gebresilasse, 2017. "Frontier Culture: The Roots and Persistence of “Rugged Individualism†in the United States," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2018-004, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    23. O’Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2015. "Urban Crime," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

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