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Socioeconomic Structure, Self-fulfilment, Homicides and Spatial Dependence in Brazil


  • Alexandre Carvalho
  • Daniel Cerqueira
  • Waldir Lobão


In this article we develop a theoretical model to explain the homicide rate in any given place and construct a Bayesian model with a spatial structure to test the hypotheses. We assume that in his quest for self-fulfilment the individual, when taking the decision to perpetrate violence, not only responds to expected economic costs and benefits, but also to an internal system of reward and punishment, synthesized by the emotions. Symbolic valuation, in particular, with respect to conventional rules and the subjective valuation of life itself, depends on socioeconomic and age-group bonds. Theoretical conclusions show that the probability of victimization by violence is higher in places with greater income inequality, larger proportion of youths in the population and socioeconomic vulnerability. The model tested covered 5.507 Brazilian municipalities from 1999 to 2001, and we calculated the risk of a resident in any given municipality being a victim of homicide. This variable was confronted with other structural variables in order to obtain homicide elasticities and the effect of spatial dependency in explaining the risk of local victimization. The results suggest that there is evidence to support the theoretical propositions. Neste estudo, desenvolvemos um modelo teórico para explicar a taxa de homicídios em uma determinada localidade e estimamos, através de métodos bayesianos, um modelo econométrico com estrutura espacial para testar as hipóteses. Admitimos que, na busca pela auto-realização, ao tomar a decisão por perpetrar a violência, o indivíduo responde não apenas a benefícios e custos econômicos esperados, mas a um sistema interno de premiação e punição, sintetizado pelas emoções. A valoração simbólica, em particular, no que diz respeito às normas estabelecidas e à valoração subjetiva da vida dependem dos laços de ligação socioeconômica e da faixa etária. As conclusões teóricas revelam que em localidades onde há maior desigualdade da renda, maior proporção de jovens na população e maior vulnerabilidade socioeconômica, maior deveria ser a probabilidade de vitimização por homicídio. Procuramos evidências das proposições teóricas com base em um modelo estatístico regressivoauto-regressivo espacial misto, cujas informações cobriram 5.507 municípios brasileiros para os anos de 1999 a 2001. Calculamos o risco de um indivíduo residente em tal município sofrer homicídio e confrontamos essa variável com um conjunto de variáveis socioeconômicas estruturais, de modo a se obterem as elasticidades da taxa de homicídios e o efeito que a dependência espacial exerce para explicar o risco de vitimização local. Os resultados sugeriram haver evidências das proposições teóricas.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre Carvalho & Daniel Cerqueira & Waldir Lobão, 2015. "Socioeconomic Structure, Self-fulfilment, Homicides and Spatial Dependence in Brazil," Discussion Papers 0151, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipe:ipetds:0151

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    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-1295, December.
    4. Leung, Siu Fai, 1995. "Dynamic Deterrence Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 65-87, February.
    5. James P. Lesage, 1997. "Bayesian Estimation of Spatial Autoregressive Models," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 20(1-2), pages 113-129, April.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 225-258, December.
    7. Block, M K & Heineke, J M, 1975. "A Labor Theoretic Analysis of the Criminal Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 314-325, June.
    8. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
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