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Emanuel Vila
March 2015


I would like to dedicate this academic research paper to my father Florian Vila
who was assassinated on the 9th of April 2003. The headlines of this event shook
the Albanian country and communities throughout the world, but I am proud
that even to this day people take the hat off to his name. I wouldnt be where I am
today had it not been for him, therefore contributing towards a better
understanding of criminal activity in post-communist economies using
established economic theory has a personal significance for me.

Additionally I would like to thank my tutor Daniel Howdon who helped me with
the econometric models and overall direction the project, as well as my
professor Daphne Athanasouli who guided me through the theories of transition

1. Abstract

2. .Introduction

3. Literature Review

4. Further Analysis

5. ..Data and Methodology

6. ..Results, Discussion and Conclusion

7. Appendix

8. ... Bibliography


The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 and Soviet Union
in 1991 are watershed events in world history. The demise of
communism was cherished by many and a wave of democratization to
replace the highly inefficient command economy followed soon after.
Twenty-five years later the side effects of the transition process that was
initiated in the early 90s, characterised by immense suffering and pain in
already fragile societies, are clearly visible. One such side effect was the
immediate spike in criminal homicide rates prominent in almost every
region that underwent this process. Was this a coincidence? What can we
attribute this increase in criminal activity to? What impact did political
and economic reforms have? What impact did cultural and demographic
factors such as war and ethnic tensions have? I employ panel data
analysis to answer these questions and handpick the most suitable
control variables that explain homicide rates in transition economies, in
order to build upon an already existing framework for such analysis.
My findings indicate that civil wars, where present, led to an inevitable
increase in crime activity by desensitising the general population and
perpetuating a culture of violence. Mass privatisation, a proxy of shock
therapy applied to rapidly transform the economy also led to an
undeniably large increase in homicide rates. This highlights the tradeoff
between superior future economic performance and present human costs
that policy makers were faced with. Trade liberalisation however, while it
decreased criminal activity in the countries in the Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS) region such as Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan
due to the reduction in black market activities, it promoted criminal
activity in Central Eastern Europe (CEE) as globalization offered more
opportunities to exploit. Democracy, income inequality, ethnic tensions,
inflation, GDP growth and alcohol consumption prove statistically
significant for different countries within different regions, albeit to a
different extent. Health expenditure on the other hand, a proxy for
poverty proves insignificant for neither the CEE, nor the Baltic and CIS


At the beginning of 1989 the continent of Europe, dominated by the

largest country on earth that no longer exists, the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics (USSR), embraced an economic system labeled as a command

economy. The aim to centralize the economic power follows from the
belief that economic coordination by markets is inefficient and welfare is
best maximized by centralized planning and administration (Mickiewicz
2010). However, command economies were characterised by highly
bureaucratic and extensive administrative structures that led to higher
costs and distortion of information, a lack of economic efficiency derived
from overproduction to meet the quotas set by the government and no
profit motives for people as all economic parameters are decided by the
planners. Ultimately the system was incompetent and it was the factors
above, in addition to exaggerated military spending and public
dissatisfaction that led to the political revolutions that started in mid-
1989 in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a period of history
otherwise known as the post-communist transition.

Such transition affected the life of the populations in the countries
involved in many significant respects, a key aspect of which is population
health. (Safaei 2012) found that the countries of Central and Eastern
Europe that had gone under immense political and socioeconomic
restructuring after the collapse of communism in the 90s experienced
sharp spikes in mortality rates. This notion that transition had an
immediate and largely adverse impact on health is further reinforced by
(J. Figueras et al. 2004), yet the casual link between transition and
increased mortality is widely debated by literature. (M. Bobak et al 2007)
identifies income inequality and corruption as the source of poor health
outcomes, (Cockerham et al. 2002) and (Cockerham et al. 2006) found
that people who favour political ideologies such as pro-socialism
demonstrate less activity toward achieving health than antisocialists,
(Stuckler et. al 2009) discovered that economic reforms such as mass
privatization in Eastern Europe and Soviet union were associated with a
12.8% increase in mortality rates, while (Mckee and Shkolnikov 2001;
Zatonski and Willett 2005) blame the life style factors such as the high
prevalence of smoking, alcohol consumption and poor diet.

Additionally, (Figueras et al. 2004) found increased mortality to be
related to morbidity due to poorly organised health systems, while
(Franco et al. 2004; Besley and Kudamatsu2006) have drawn attention to
lack of political culture and democracy, low levels of which were a
symptom in a majority of countries that underwent this grueling process.
Yet, it is the work of (Leichter 1991) and (Winston et al. 1999) that have
inspired this dissertation, whose work centers on the connection between
violence, as a result of disrespect for order and state control as an
explanatory factor for the increase in death rates in transition economies.

During the period of transition, countries of the former Soviet Union such
as Russia faced a multitude of challenges related to crime, law and justice.
This included drafting a new criminal code (Solomon 2005), corruption
among the political elite (Coulloudon 1997; Wedel 2001), a police system
with budget shortfalls and widespread corruption (Beck and Lee 2002),
and consequently a judiciary distrusted by citizens (Huskey 1997).
Equally, during the same time period of transition, the personal safety of
the citizens of Eastern Europe were threatened by rising levels of criminal
activity (Lotspeich, 1995; Savelsberg 1995; Zvekic 1998).

25 years after transition began, the assassination of Boris Nemtsov on the
27th of February 2015 is yet another bleak reminder of the still existing
prospects of crime in post-communist countries like Russia, as it leaves
liberals in fear of a new wave of violent repression. On March 7th (The
Economist, 2015) quoted that This postcard murder, referring to a
symbolic image of Nemtsovs memorial procession with the cupolas of St
Basils church in the background, marks the return of Russias campaign
of political violence from Ukraine to the homeland. Thus understanding
crime using economic theory, or criminal homicide as I refer to it on this
paper, the act of a human causing the death of another, using many forms
including accidental or purposeful murder, has a profound professional

On a social level, literature finds serious negative effects due to crime as
well as fear of crime, particularly on psychological health (MORRALL et al.
2010), on childrens cognitive performance and further development
(Sharkey 2010) and on the risks it poses on families way of life as a
sudden and uninvited intrusion in their lives that changes their meaning
of existence, as they struggle to deal with the major transformations and
challenges, that ultimately lead to them having a higher probability of
developing sustained and dysfunctional psychological problems.
(Thompson et al. 1998)

On an economic level, homicide was estimated to decrease life
expectancy by nearly 5 years(Redelings et al. 2010), which is a measure
of well-being in society, while also acting like a tax on the entire
economy: [as] it discourages domestic and foreign direct investments, it
reduces firms' competitiveness, and reallocates resources creating
uncertainty and inefficiency.(Detotto and Edoardo 2010)

The rest of the chapter is organised as follows. On section 3 I will present
a literature review of homicide studies in transition, on section 4 I further
analyse the dependent and independent variables involved in the study ,
in section 5 I discus the econometric model used to empirically asses my
model and present the data, the results of which I discus and conclude in
section 6.

In 2009, (Stamatel 2009) used pooled time-series analyses of data from
nine countries from 1990 to 2003 In East-Central Europe, to examine
whether correlates of cross-national homicide variation tested with data
from highly developed, predominantly Western Nations could also
explain homicide rates in transition economies. His work built upon the
four structural and cultural contexts that have been identified as
correlates of cross-regional homicide in other countries by (Gartner
1990); namely the economic context (distribution of economic
resources), integrative context (integration of social networks and
Institutions of social control), demographic context (the composition and
activities of the population) and culture context (exposure to violent and
legitimate violence). Stamatel concluded that within the economic

context, the rate of homicides is negatively related to GDP per capita and
not significantly related to income inequality, within the demographic
context its positively related to ethnic diversity and population density
but negatively related to the percentage of young people between 15 and
25 years old and within the integrative context, its not significantly
related to divorce rates, a measure of intra-group cohesion [that] was
anticipated to correspond to higher homicide rates. He discovered that
homicides were also positively related to political violence within the
culture context and additionally proved a correlation between lower
homicides and successful economic reforms and higher levels of
democracy, as a result of a countrys ability to recover quickly from the
disruption of the end of the communist regime and to institute a new
social order. Although the two later factors are a subcategory of the
economic and integration context, I prefer to single them out into the
economic reforms and political reforms context respectively, as they are
quite unique features for transition economies.

(LaFree and Tseloni 2006) reinforced the idea based on the conflict
perspective, which predicts that violent crime rates will increase along
with the brutalizing effects of the market economies that so far have
universally accompanied democratization, as he found "homicide rates in
transitional democratic regimes were significantly higher by an estimated
average of 54.4%". Nevertheless different academics use different
explanatory variables within the four contexts outlined above to try and
explain homicide rates in transition economies. For example (Favarin
2013) finds that according to her OLS model, a shift from transition stage
to a more solid democratic stage the Balkan countries, Bulgaria and
Romania reduced their homicide rates by 40.6 %, but (LaFree and
Tseloni 2006) concludes that that during the second half of the twentieth
century homicide rates gradually increased for full democracies while
the average homicide rate for a hypothetical country of average
percentage of population fifteen to twenty-four years old and average
prosperity under autocracy is effectively zero". Nevertheless democracy
facilitates a neutral stance towards ethnically diverse countries, thereby
indirectly leading to a decrease in harassment, violence and ultimately
murder, as emphasized by (Ashforth 2005) who quotes that differences
of religion and culture ought to be treated as private matters to which
government should remain blind.

Other academics have focused on the economic context as means of
explaining homicide rates, such as (Pridemore and Kim 2007) who finds
that regions with greater increases in unemployment experienced
greater increases in homicide rates while regions that privatized
experienced smaller increases in homicide rates. Equally (Prasad 2012)
finds a negative correlation between trade liberalization and crime in
transitioning India. While (Stamatel 2009) concluded that for CEE
countries income inequality was insignificant for homicide rates, other
literature by (Neopolitan 1996; LaFree 1999; Messner and Rosenfeld
1997) directly contradicts this. (Ouimet 2012) also finds that the strong
bivariate relationship between GNI and homicide (0.59) holds in a
multivariate analysis for all countries but he limits this finding only for
the subsample of medium to high Human Development Index (HDI)

nations, thereby saying that inequality doesnt explain homicide rates for
low HDI countries. Nevertheless according to the data from World Health
Organisation, none of the countries in my study are ranked as countries
with low HDI. According to ( the country with the
highest HDI that classifies as low HDI is Pakistan at an HDI of 0.497. The
lowest HDI reached by the countries in my sample was by Kyrgyzstan at
an HDI level of 0.58 in year 2000 as demonstrated in graph 1.

Graph.1a UNDP Human Development Index HDI

The demographics context has also been under the scope with regard to
homicide rates, as (Kikuchi 2010) explores the spatial and temporal
dimensions of crime in neighborhoods and finds that racial homogeneity
of the target neighborhood is most important when offending along with
co-offenders and (Frhling et al. 2003) deduces that rising crime levels
in Latin America are attributable to ethnic diversity.

When identifying the main factors that lead to increased homicides in
transition economies, its important not to not leave important variables
out of the equation, therefore violating one of the classical assumption of
Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression theory (that the explanatory
variables are independent of the error term) and hence skewing the
results due to omitted variable bias. As a result I will control for all
variables that might have caused a spike in homicide rates during the
post-communist transition period. For example (Ouimet 2012) uses Gross
National income (GNI), Gini coefficient and excess infant mortality which
is a proxy for poverty, to account for the economic context. To control for
the demographic context he factors in the portion of 15-29 year olds and
percentages of ethnicities as part of the population, to control for the
culture context he includes a violent conflict dummy, and to account for
the political context he uses a full democracy dummy and an
authoritarian regime dummy. On the other hand, (Pridemore and Kim
2007) use the ratio of the income received by the top 20% relative to the
bottom 20% wage earners to account for inequality and therefore the
economic context, the rate of heavy drinking per 100,000 of deaths ,

percentage of population living in cities with more than 100,000 residents

and percentage of population aged 25-44 to account for the demographic
context, and the rate per 1000 residents enrolled in college and voter
turnout as percentage of registered voters who voted in the 2000 Russian
Presidential election to account for the integration context.
In order to ensure my model is as relevant and robust as possible, I will
examine all different control variables used by different academics within
each of the six categories examined so far. Crime rates increased during
the period of transition, albeit at different rates for different countries. To
the authors knowledge no empirical study distinguishes between the
explanatory variables that might significant in the CEE, Baltic or CIS
countries separately. What might explain the increase in homicide for one
set of countries might not significantly correlate with the increase in
crimes in another. I aim to bridge that gap by handpicking the best control
variables for the set of countries involved in my study.
Below I have devised a table including all the categories discussed above
(see Table. 1), with all respective control variables for which either lack of
data isnt a problem or I believe to be worth testing based on supportive
literature. In the next section, I will examine each control variable
individually, as I provide the data and conduct a comprehensive visual
analysis to help me devise the ultimate econometrics model that explains
homicide trends in post-communist countries.
Economic Context

Real GDP per Capita
GDP growth
Income Inequality

Demographic context

Percentage of youth
Concentration of population
Ethnic diversity
Alcohol Consumption

Political Reform Context
Democracy Scores

Integrative context

Voter Turnout
Health Expenditure

Culture Context

War/ Political violence
Divorce Rates

Economic Reform Contex

Mass Privatisation
Trade Liberalisation

Table. 1 Control variables that might explain homicide trends


Homicide Rates are the focus of my study. Using data from the World
health organisation (WHO) I have plotted the graph below for the 19
countries of interest. This should give a clear snapshot of countries
homicide rates trajectory following the period of transition in the 90s.

Graph. 1b SDR, Homicide and Intentional Injury, 0-64, per 100,000

Graph. 2 Real Gross Domestic Product, PPP$ per capita


Economic strain can result from the general inadequacy of resources or

the unequal distribution of resources. Particularly relevant for the East-
Central European counties given the extent of economic restructuring
that has been occurring during the post-communist transformations. This
period of transition affected the well being of the citizens from these
countries (Gros and Steinherr2004)

a. GDP per Capita is probably the most common indicator of economic

development and it has been used in a larger number of studies. (Bennet,
(1991; LaFree and Tseloni (2006; Lin 2007). Furthermore, (Stamatel
2007) also found that found that homicide rates were negatively related
to GDP per capita. Nevertheless there has been at least one case, Cuba,
where a reduction of output (about 40 percent in 1989-94) did not
translate into a mortality crisis: life expectancy in Cuba increased from 75
years in the late 1980s to 78 years in 2006 (Popov 2010). Using data
from World health Organisation I plot the following graphs.

Here we observe a negative relationship between the increase in Real
GDP per Capita Purchase Power Parity adjusted against the rate of
homicides. We also observe a distinction between two groups of countries
whose as GDP per Capita increases, homicide and intentional injury rates
decrease. This is observed in CEE countries like Albania, Romania,
Macedonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic to mention a few.
For example, from 1990 to 2000, Czech Republic's GDP per Capital has
increased by 26.2% from $12314.3 to $15546.4. For the same period of
time, after a slight upsurge in homicide rates in mid 90's, homicide rates
have decreased by 12.85% from 1.79 to 1.56 homicides and intentional
injuries per 100,000 people. For the same year Romania's GDP increases
by 9.37% from 5182.87 to 5668.39. Equally, It's homicide rates decrease
by 36.35% from 5.31 to 3.38 homicides per 100,000 people.
The other group of countries takes a different path, which nevertheless
tells the same story. It is clear from the graph that as GDP per capita
decreased, Homicide rates for Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and
Georgia increased. For example from 1990 to 2000, Russia's GDP per
capita decreased by 15% from $8002.65 to $6832.78, while homicide
rates increased by an astounding 89.5% from 14.47 to 27.97 per 100,000
people. Likewise, for the same time period, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Georgia
and Moldova recorded a decrease in GDP per capita by 6.58%, 50.1% and
55.7% respectively, while they demonstrated increases in homicide rates
by an average of 38.7%. The Baltic region countries of Latvia, Estonia and
Lithuania religiously follow the same pattern.
What stands out however is that in the CIS group, Kyrgyzstan and
Armenia's GDP per capita decreased by 26.85% and 4.28%, yet homicide
rates also decreased by 46.67% and 61.3% from 1990 to 2000. Potential
explanations could be Armenias low ethnic mixture of only 1.8%, which
is found by (Stamatel, 2009) to affect crime rates in transition economies,
while Kyrgyzstan may have reduced homicide rates despite a decrease in
GDP per capita due to low unemployment levels of around 2.9% to 3.1%
during the 1996-2000 period, which was by far the lowest level of

unemployment out of our 19 country sample. Literature by (Popov 2010)

confirms this correlation.

Graph. 3 Real Gross Domestic Product per Capita and Homicide


It is clear in the scatter graph that although Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan,

Latvia and Lithuania have a higher GDP per Capita than Macedonia and.
Armenia, Albania, and Slovenia in 1993, their homicide rates exceed the
other group's rates in 1994. I have measured these two variables with a
one year gap of in order to take into account a small lag that lower
deteriorating GDP per capita may have on homicide rates as people start
to realise they are increasingly worse off. Nevertheless, the scatter graph
suggests that other variables must be taken into account to give a fuller
image of the model that explains homicide rates in transition economies
and that GDP per Capita may not be statistically significant.

b. GDP Growth has been found to have significant crime-reducing impact
in the case of violent crime (Fajnzylber et al 2002). Findings of (Popov,
2010) reinforce the same notion after he concluded that due to
transformational recession in the 1990s, output fell by 45 percent from
1989 to 1998, and the crime rate, murder rate, and suicide rate all sharply
increased as well. Economic problems, especially economic slowdown,
stagnation, deterioration, and collapse can greatly contribute to intra-
state tensions and destabilization (Jourek 1999), which in turn places
strains on existing social and political system that can consequently result
in instability and internal conflict (Brown 1996). However one must be
cautious when analysing the causality between crime and economic
growth. As we discussed earlier crime can also affect economic growth as
was the case for Italy in time span between 19792002. (Detotto and
Edoardo 2010)

c. Inflation will lead to people having less money as it directly reduces
their savings. This deteriorates their living standards and may as a result
impact their living standards. Inflation can explain more about families
economic health and peoples daily lives (Serena 2013), as it is often

connected with economic inequality (Albanesi (2001); Thalassinos et al.

2012), which in turn is connected to higher crime levels. Using data from
WHO I created the Graph. 4 and Graph. 5 below.

Graph. 4 Annual Average Rate of inflation (%)

Graph. 5 Inflation and Homicide Rats

In graph. 4, Armenias inflation dwarfs that of every country's in 1992 and
1993 reaching average annual rates of inflation of 2118% and. 10997%
respectively. It is perhaps no surprise that 1992 also symbolizes
Armenias peak homicide rate of 26.55 crimes and intentional injuries per
100,000 people, beating the runner up Estonia at 21.02 by 26.3%.

The second highest inflation around 1992-1993 period is Ukraine with

inflation rates of 1650% and 3691% respectively .The homicide rates
recorded in these two years are 12.21 and 14.02 per 100,000 people, and
although these are big compared to CEE countries such as Slovakia (2.23;

2,29) and Slovenia (2,22; 1.36), they are the second smallest in the region,
which is dominated by Russia at 31.37 homicides per 100,000 in 1992
and 33.19 homicides per 100,000 in 1993. However for the same period
of time Russia also records a substantially high average annual rate of
inflation at 1468%.
When examining the countries with the highest inflation in this period of
time, besides the countries discussed above, its easy to distinguish
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Latvia. These are countries that were ranked
into the upper boundary of homicide rates in my visual analysis earlier.
Graph.5 further reinforces this positive correlation between inflation,
which according to literature characterizes inequality; homicide rates are
run against inflation. According to the visual analysis I can predict that
inflation is going to test significant for CIS and Baltic countries, but
insignificant as an explanatory of homicides for CEE countries.

Nevertheless, due to the extensive lack of data (for example Russia

missing from 1996 to 2012, Bulgaria missing from 1999 onwards and
data for Albania, Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan being inconsistent at
best), It will be difficult to run this model while ensuring it produces a
robust model.

d. Unemployment relates to the idea of stress factors affecting mortality.
"Stress factors are associated with the transition to a market economy
and are created by a rise in unemployment, labor mobility, migration,
divorce, and income inequality" (Popov, 2010), who noted that Men in
their 40s and 50s who lost their jobs (or had to move to another job or
region) were the first candidates to die prematurely in the 1990s." But
often scholars have argued that unemployment is connected to income
inequality (Cardoso and Urani 1995), which in turn positively correlates
to an increase in homicide rates. Employment and unemployment, indeed,
seem to have an impact on the decrease or increase of crime (Steven and
Winter-Ebmer 2002), however this paper treats seven types of crime, one
of which is property crime and yields significant result when regressed
against unemployment. The correlation between violent crime and
unemployment is significantly weaker. Using data from WHO I plotted the
following graph.

Graph. 6 Unemployment rate (%)

It's interesting to see that some countries, which depict a lower
unemployment rate from 1990 - 1995 during the initial years of
transition such as Russia, Estonia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Lithuania, are
the countries that show the highest rates of homicide in for the same
period of time. The explanation to this oddity can come from the fact that
these are also the countries that were not prepared to fully restructure
their labour markets in order to soften the pain of transition. As a result,
this led to labour hoarding and inefficiencies, which affected future
growth and development, which consequently would have affected
homicide rates. (Mickiewicz 2010) quotes that jobs in the old industrial
sectors may have been preserved by a combination of inadequate social
welfare provision and industrial subsidies, typically of an implicit nature.
That route turned to be self-defeating

Graph. 7 Unemployment and Homicide Rates

The very same relationship is captured in the regression of SDR, homicide

to the rate of unemployment. This absolutely and categorically does not
imply that an increase in unemployment would lead to a lower rate of
homicides, it's rather a side effect of countries that were not prepared to
restructure the labor markets and tried to keep employment high as we
discussed above. As a result, I dont think unemployment is a good
explanatory variable of homicide rates, therefore it will be omitted from
my final model.

d. Income Inequality has contributed to increases in post-communist
violent crime rates as discovered not only by (Matutinovic1998:
Savelsberg1995: Karstedt 2003), bur also (Cabinet Social Development
Committee 2004) who quote that inequality generates fiscal costs on
the wider community, such as through increased crime and health
expenditure. As discussed in the literature review, (Ouimet 2012) finds
that income inequality appears to be the most important factor in
accounting for the variations in violence across countries that have a
medium to high level of human development and other academics also
agree when they hypothesize that income inequality, through its
detrimental effects on social cohesion, would be related to an increase in
violence worldwide, and in low and middle-income countries in particular
(Wolf et al. 2014). This is in line with the general theory that inequality is
detrimental to the well being of the society since besides corruption,
income inequality is identified as the source of high mortality rates
(Bobak et al 2007).
Contrary to logic, an increase in inequality has not always been associated
with a rise in criminal homicide rates, as (Chintrakam and Herzer 2012)
examine the effect of income inequality on crime in the United States
using a US state-level panel data set for the period 19652005 and find
that inequality exerts a robust crime-reducing effect. Nevertheless, this
result may not be surprising in a highly developed country like the US,
where the lack of equality can be balanced by a more efficient welfare
provision system and enforceable laws in place to deter crime from
happening. On the other hand, (Stamatel 2009) found that while In
developed countries, income inequality is correlated homicide, he found
that found this variable to be statistically significant in only one of the
eight time-series cross-section econometric models. Thus, homicide is not
significantly related to income inequality in the CEE countries that he
examined such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia,
Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. To gain a better understanding I
data from the World Income Inequality Database and plotted the Gini
coefficients for the countries in the sample.


Czech Rep


















Graph.8 Gini coefficients plotted over time

For the purpose of descriptive analysis, I have divided the regions
represented by the graph in 3 categories. First we have the countries that
consistently fall in the lower boundary, with 0-33% Gini coefficient. These
are countries such as Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and
Macedonia. Poland crosses the 33% inequality coefficient 33.7% in 1998
and continues in the middle region thereafter, while Romania follows the
same upward trend by scoring 35.3% only three years later in 2001,
however they consistently score below the 33% boundary in the first 8
years of transition. All these countries all fall in the lower region of
intentional homicide scores, therefore underlining a potential correlation
between low inequality and low homicide rates. The exception in this case
is Albania. Although very little data exists for Albania, as highlighted by
the non-consistent scatter plot, the data that does exist seems to imply
Albania is one of the low boundary countries. From 1990 to 2004, which
is the timeline for this constructed scatter graph, Albania scores under
33%, with 2005 being the first year it scratches the middle boundary at
exactly 33%. This however should not disprove the correlation between
inequality and correlation, because Albania was one of the countries that
faced one of the most brutal and bloodiest civil wars in the region in 1997,
hence skewing the homicide results. It's interesting to see that when I

replaced the excessively large 41.3 Homicides per 100,000 people with
the mean of homicide rates of previous and future years combined,
Albania seems to be in the middle-boundary.
Interestingly we find Baltic states like Latvia, and Estonia, as well as CIS
countries like Kazakhstan in the Middle boundary region, which all report
high homicide rates. Data for Kazakhstan is inconsistent prior to 2001
therefore it's difficult to know where it would have performed before
that. Except Bulgaria which, scores in the lower boundary of homicide
rates, all other countries scoring in between 33% and 38% Gini
coefficients, fortify the theory that inequality can be positively correlated
to homicide rates.

It's little surprise that Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Moldova score
above the 38% Gini coefficient, and are therefore categorized as high
boundary scorers. Ukraine, which also falls under this category scores in
highly in homicide and intentional injuries rate per 100,000 people, albeit
lower than its CIS counterparts. Perhaps the most odd observation of all is
Georgia, which has one of the lower homicide rates. I expect all three
regions to test significant for their correlation between homicide rates
and inequality coefficients.


The capacity of a nation to provide control and protection against
violence should be greater the more prevalent and interdependent are
individuals ties to social institutions and social institutions ties to each
other (Gartner 1990). This argument is valid for post-communist
countries because they radically altered traditional institutions such as
families, churches, and schools, as the civil society adapted to the new
political regimes.(Stamatel 2009)

a. Voter turnout or the proportion voting for a specific candidate/party
is often used as a measure of apathy or lack of trust (Putnam 1995);
Villarreal 2002) This lack of trust that institutions can deal with enforcing
law leads to an increase in crime. However voter turnout gradually
decreasing over the years since transition began in CEE, CIS and the Baltic
states in the doesnt necessarily explain reduced confidence in the system
to regulate crime rates, but possibly the fact that citizens in post-
communist states are exposed to increasingly numerous, heterogeneous,
and conflicting messages regarding both the economy and politics.
Moreover they also face a much broader set of political choices for which
this information is relevant, therefore this may be the main contributor
towards a decrease in election participation (Duch 2001).

I gathered data from the International IDEA Voter Turnout Website,
which contains the most comprehensive global collection of voter turnout
statistics available. These statistics are regularly updated for national
presidential and parliamentary elections since 1945, as well as European
Parliament elections and presented for each country using both the

number of registered voters and voting age population (VAP) as

indicators. See graph .9.

Graph .9 Voter Turnout as % of population

Typically, voting functions are studied using time-series data (Fair 1978;
Fair 1996; Norpoh et al. 1991) This approach is not possible in the
transition countries of CEE, CIS and Baltic states because only a few
elections have taken place since the fall of communism. However for the
purpose of visual analysis, I will extrapolate the data for the years no
elections were held so I can get a better cross-national image of voter
turnout and try to identify patterns and correlations between homicide
rates and voter turnout. See graph. 10

The main trend to be recognised is the overall decrease in voter turnout
in the two decades since transition. In 1990 the average voter turnout
was 74.82% for all the 19 countries in our sample, whereas by 2012 the
average voter turnout is 59.1%. Since then overall homicides rates have
decreased from an average of 6.75 homicides per 100,000 people to 3.7
homicides per 100,000. Nevertheless, the decrease in voter turnout does
not have to necessarily associate with a loss of faith in institutions. As
mentioned by (Duch 2001), according to the extant voting literature,
political information plays a major role in shaping voter decisions
(Fearon 1999; Zaller 1992). Given the inconsistency between voter
turnout and homicide rates, as well as lack of data, I will omit voter
turnout from my final model.


Czech Rep




















Graph. 10 Voter Turnout extrapolated

b. Health expenditure is included in order to fill the gap left by the lack
of data on education enrolment, education expenditure as well as police
personnel and criminal justice system resources, which inherently
represent the level of social development. In examining their connection
to crime, health expenditure as % of GDP was included as a proxy for
social development and good organization of the welfare state(Favarina
2013). Including this variable in the study provides an opportunity to
control not only for economic and demographic aspects, but also for
social characteristics of countries.

Since there is some variation among the data, I have taken the average
health expenditure for each country from 1995 to 2000 in order to
categorise them accordingly. The countries with the lower averages of
total spent as % of GDP on health are the ones with the higher average
homicide rates for the same period of time. Below I examine data from
WHO and plot Graph. 11 and 12.

Graph. 11 Total Health Expenditure as % of GDP

Graph .12 Health Expenditure and Homicide Rates

This negative correlation is further reinforced by looking at the scatter
graph, where health expenditure X is plotted against homicide rates Y.
The downward slope represents a decrease in homicide rates as health
expenditure increases.

For 1995 to 2000, Albania's average total spent on Health as % of GDP is
4.82% and reports 16.3 homicides per 100,00 people, Kazakhstan (4.5%)
reports 19.77, Kyrgyzstan (5.47%) reports 11.95, Estonia (5.93%) reports
18.55, Russia (5.97%) reports 25.5.

On the other hand, countries with high averages of total spent on health
as % of GDP, such as Georgia (6.73%) records an average homicide rate of
2.06 per 100,000 people, Hungary (7.15%) records 2, Slovenia (7.79%)

records 1.67, and Macedonia(9%) records 2.31. These results seem to

indicate a negative correlation between health expenditure and homicide
rates. However, the lack of data prior to 1995 may make the variable
statistically insignificant.


The demographic context builds on opportunity theory and captures the
composition and dispersion of activities of a population, which affect the
pool of potential offenders and the opportunities to commit crime
(Stamatel, 2009).

a. Youth in proportion to overall population is often considered by
literature to depict a positive correlation to crime, as higher proportion of
their population between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four have
significantly higher homicide rates (LaFree and Tseloni 2006). It is in fact
often reported that young people are more likely to commit violent
crime compared to adults (Bennet 1991; Kikuchi 2010; Cole and Gramajo
2009). This is noted in Western Societies which demonstrate decreased
levels of crime because as they are growing older, most crimes are
committed by young men (Anonymous 2013).

However Evidence from Russia Shows that both homicide offenders and
victims are more likely to be more than 30 years old than younger
(Chervyakov et al. 2002; Pridemore 2003). Data from East-Central
Europe also shows that their homicide victims are older on average than
in Western countries. Middle aged men in particular (Stamatel 2009).
Nevertheless lack of data for the countries in my sample means I cannot
include this control this variable into my final equation.

b. Ethnic diversity on the other hand is easily measured as the
percentage of ethnicities in relation to overall population. In his recent
book, (Brown 1996) identified ethnic geography is the third structural
perquisite for ethnic conflict. (Hipp 2011) tests and finds that higher
levels of segregation in cities with high levels of racial/ethnic
heterogeneity lead to particularly high overall levels of the types of crime
studies. For example Kyrgyzstan has been the scene of one of the most
serious outbreaks of ethnic violence in Soviet history. In one week,
interethnic fighting left approximately 250 Kyrgyz and Uzbeks dead in the
southern province of Osh, which lies at the eastern end of the Uzbek-
dominated Ferghana Valley(HUSKEY 1997). Using data from the World
Fact book I created the Table. 2 and Graph. 13.



Czech Rep

Table. 2 Ethnic Mixutres as % of Population

The average ethnic mixture as % of population for the sample of CEE and Baltic
countries included in the study is 16.44%. This pales in comparison to the ethnic
mixture as % of population for CIS countries (28.68%). These results support the
literature on the positive correlation between homicide rates and ethnic
diversity, as we have seen CIS countries consistently reporting higher intentional
homicide rates than the countries in the CEE region. Examining the Baltic region
closer, we notice Latvia and Estonia recording 42.2% and 29.7% ethnic mixture
respectively, which further reinforce the credibility of this correlation, as these
are two of the highest scorers in homicide rates in the region. Macedonia in CEE
on the other hand comes second in the region with an ethnic mixture of 35.8%,
yet it has the second lowest homicide scores from the entire sample for years
1994 and 1995, scoring 1.42 and 1.67 respectively, surpassed only by Georgia at
0.22 and 0.02 for the same years.

By the same token, Armenia has the second lowest ethnic mixture at 1.8%,
outperformed only by Poland at 1.4%, yet in 1992 it records the highest
homicide rates from our 19 country sample reporting as high as 26.55 homicides
per 100,000 people. To counter this argument however, this peak in homicides if
followed by a dramatic decrease of 68.6% in homicide rates to 8.33 in 1993, and
continues to progressively improve by recording 5.65 in 1994, 5.34 in 1995, 3.57
in 1996 and 3.11 in 1997. It is also worth noting that in 2009, the last year for
which original data from the World Health Organisation on Homicide rates for all
the countries in our sample exist, Armenia elevates itself as the safest country
with a homicide score of just 1.6, 88.7% lower than Russia and 72.7% lower than
it's Baltic counterpart, Latvia.

Ethnic mixture as % of population


Czech Rep










Graph. 13 Ethnic Mixtures as % of Population

c. Alcohol Consumption was studied by (Pridemore 2002) who found
[its] consumption and family disruption to be positively and significantly
associated with Russian regional homicide rates. Some even put forward
the demographic echo theory, whereby the decrease in mortality
between 1989 to 1994 was a mere echo of the decrease in alcohol
consumption that occurred during Mikhail Gorbachevs anti-alcohol
campaign of 1985-87. (Popov 2011). However Popov also suggested that
alcohol consumption, although strongly correlated with the mortality
rate, was most likely not the core cause but a symptom of the same stress
factors that caused mortality. More specifically in terms of homicide rates,
worldwide, alcohol consumption was associated with self-reported
assault rates (Wolf et al. 2014) and homicide as we define it, is the the
act of a human being causing the death of another human being. Dr. East
points out that while every practical criminologist will attach some
importance to the association of alcoholism in crime, It is easy to over-
emphasize the connection (Nature 1939). In support of this this
contention, he brings forward statistics from various prisons showing
that familial or individual alcoholism is much less frequent cause of crime
than was formerly supposed. Using data from WHO I plotted graph 14.

Graph 14. Pure Alcohol Consumption, Litres per Capita, age 15+

Graph 15. Pure Alcohol Consumption and Homicide Rates.

and graph. 15 respectively. We have countries in CEE like Romania, Czech
Republic and Slovenia consuming 11.32, 13.72 and 13.36 liters per Capita
in 1995, yet recording 4.12, 1.79 and 2.3 homicides per 100,000 people
for the same year respectively. On the other hand, we have countries CIS
and Baltic countries like Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Lithuania
consuming 1.66, 4.91 and 6.09 liters per capita, yet reporting 16.94, 22.4
and 12.35 homicides per 100,000 people respectively. One possible
explanation could be that alcohol consumption may be also positively
correlated to GDP per Capita as alcohol may be expensive, and therefore
the second group of countries analysed above all demonstrate decreasing
GDP per Capita from 1990 to 1995, a characteristic that is associated with

higher crime rates. For example between 5 years since the transition
period began in 1990, Kyrgyzstan GDP/Capita decreased by 44.9%,
Kazakhstan's decreased by 28.4% and Lithuania's decreased by 33.3%.
This explanation may be further validated when concluding that for the
same time period, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovenia's GDPs/capita
increased by 3.6%, 8.64% and 12.95% respectively.


Capturing the underlying normative system of a society, can be a
complicated construct that could include a myriad of factors, many of
which are difficult to quantify cross-nationally (Kardstedt 2006),
nevertheless a culture that perpetuates violence as a means of conflict
resolution will lead to higher levels of homicide. (LaFree and Tseloni
2006) found that although fully democratic countries may enjoy the
benefits of lower crime rates, some may be associated with higher crime
rates due to social disorganization.

a. War without a doubt has an effect on crime because exposure to
officially sanctioned violence such as public executions or national civil
wars, could encourage interpersonal violence through modeling or
desensitization ( Stamatel, 2009). The dissolution of Yugoslavia was
accompanied by civil war, while other East-Central European countries,
such as Romania, Macedonia and Albania experienced brief periods of
political violence related to ethnic conflict and economic strife.

On the other hand however, ethnographers studying primitive society
groups found some societies to be well acquainted with warfare,
therefore they are relatively nonviolent (Diamond, 1997, Self-Brown et al.
2004). Further more results from (Ouimet, 2012) did not find evidence
that war and civil conflict influenced the homicide rate.

Using dummy variables to account for wars and civil conflicts, my model
will incorporate the events represented in Table. 3.

Name of Conflict
Macedonian War versus the Albanian
Liberation Army
The Albanian civil war

The Lithuanian OMON assaults
The Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Georgian civil war
Czech republics Kosovo unrest
The Romanian Transnistria War, in
which Moldova and Russia were also

The Slovenian involvement in the
Slovenian Independence war Bosnian
War and Kosovo Conflict

Date of Conflict
22 January 2001 - 12 November 2001)
(December 1990 August 1991)

(1991), (1992-1995), (1999)

Russias First Chechen War, War of
(19941996), (1999), (19992009)
Dagestan, Second Chechen War and
and (2009)
North Caucasus Insurgency

The Kyrgyz Revolution of

Table. 3 Conflicts in the Regions of Study
b. Divorce rates and homicide rates are not significantly related. As a
measure of intra-group cohesion, it was anticipated that high divorce
rates would correspond with high homicide rates, as was the case with a
sample of developed democracies(Stamatel, 2009). However, empirical
studies on aggregate Russian data found no relationship between divorce
and homicide (Sitckley and Makinen 2005; Pridemore et al. 2007). This
could be because during communism, multi-generational households that
could buffer the potential negative effects of divorce on adults and
children provided support structures that maintained family cohesion.
Besides, housing shortages may have limited the physical mobility of
divorced couples, thereby encouraging family interactions regardless of
martial status. As a result I will omit this control variable from the final


(Stamatel 2009) found that political reforms shaped the strength of the
state, the rule of law and the ability of formal social control institutions to
function legitimately and effectively. He concluded that progressive
reforms towards democratisation and marketisation decreased homicide
rates. (Kim and Pridemore 2005) also found a significant negative
relationship between participation democratic elections and homicide
rates. They noted that faith in political institutions decreases crime rates
since it represents a level of trust and social cohesion, and this result is
consistent with the multinational longitudinal analyses of (LaFree and
Tseloni 2006), which found a curvilinear relationship between level of
democracy and crime. There is a benefit in shifting from a transitional to a
more democratic regime in post-communist countries. Data on the polity
score and homicide rate from 1995 to 2011 were collected to conduct a
fixed effect panel data analysis on the level of democracy and violent
crime in the Balkan region, Bulgaria and Romania, confirming a negative
association between the two variables (Favarin 2014). Democracies
consider themselves systems of lawful power-sharing, whose actors are
aware of the benefits of non-violence (Keane 2004), while anocratic
regimes reflect an inherent quality of instability and are especially
vulnerable to the onset of new political instability events, such as
outbreaks of armed conflict, unexpected changes in leadership, or adverse
regime changes (Marshall and Cole 2009).

While extensive literature proves the correlation of democracy and
homicides (LaFree and Drass 2002), some scholars provide a counter
debate saying that the presence of contested authoritarian regimes,

strong secret police and efficient local police forces may explain in part
why their homicide rate in Arab countries is relatively low, despite the
large proportion of teenagers, economic challenges and high infant
mortality rates that represent poverty (Hibou 2007; Sherry 1993).
(Michnik 1998) found that dictatorships guarantee safe streets and the
terror of the doorbell whereas in democracies the streets may be unsafe
after dark. Besides, the presence of a system of disjunctive
democracy that characterised transitional countries in Latin America
was also a common pattern of the post-communist transition (Los 2003;
Pridemore and Kim 2006). This effect occurs where the democratization
of political institution does not correspond to the democratization of the
criminal justice system and the criminal justice agencies continue to
follow the old autocratic rules (Karstedt and Lafree 2006). Therefore this
inefficient criminal justice system can be an explanation for a countrys
high homicide rates, despite being ranked as a highly democratic state.
Plotting the democracy scores attained from the Polity IV database we
observe the following. (See Graph. 16)
The lowest performers by far are Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan,
which have also some of the highest homicide rates from the sample of
countries chosen to study. Armenia scores 7, which is above the
democratic threshold of +6 until 1995 and then it is followed by a sharp
dip from 1996 until 1998, with the last two years of this dip scoring at the
other extreme of -6. Thereafter it improves, although it never reaches the
pre 95's levels. While Armenia has one of the highest homicide rates,
when examined closer, its surprising to see that the dip in democracy
levels does not reflect in the intentional homicide rates. In fact, the peak
homicides (26.55 per 100,000 people) is recorded in 1992, three years
before the dip. Furthermore, even when the dip occurs in 1996, 1997 and
1998 the homicide rates of 3.57, 3.11 3.3 respectively, are well below the
homicide rates in 1995 (5.34) when democracy scores were above the
On the other hand Kazakhstan tells a different story. In the annual
democracy data it scores -2 from 1990 to 1995, and then slips down to -4
in 1996 until 2003, where it dips once again to the extreme -6 and
remains there until present. Equally, in 1995 it's homicide rates increase
from by 12% from 19.98 to 22.4 and improve thereafter, until they reach
the 2004-2005 region, where they once again increase by 6.6% from
15.59 to 16.63.

These results imply that democracy scores must be treated cautiously in

regard to homicides, and further imply that a multitude of other factors
have to be taken into account to give a better understanding of what
explains the homicide model in post-communist countries. (LaFree and
Tseloni 2006) found that while "fully democratic societies may enjoy
many characteristics associated with low crime rates, they may also
develop characteristics associated with crime rate, such as growing social

Czech Rep














Graph. 16 Democracy Scores from Polity IV database (Undemocratic

Threshold -6/ Democratic Threshold +6)


Although economic reforms did not contribute much in terms of overall
variance explained by the Time-Series Cross-National Analysis by
(Stamatel, 2009), it is nonetheless a significant predictor of homicide in
transition economies who concluded that Economic reforms influenced
citizens overall quality of life, their future prospects of well-being and the
functioning of informal social control institutions, such as workplaces,
families and educational systems, thus reducing crime. I want to focus on
two economic reforms in particular; did mass privatization as the chosen

method of large scale privatization influence crime rates and did trade
liberalization have a direct impact on homicide rates.

a.Mass Privatisations paper on overall health in transition economies

by (Stuckler 2009) was treated by media worldwide as a given fact. It
was noted that mass privatisation programes were associated with a
12.8% increase in mortality rates, with the casual link between mass
privatization and increased mortality being the increase in
unemployment. This correlation was later disproved by (Erlea Gehlbachb
2010) who found the instantaneous effect of privatisation on mortality is
implausible and controlled for differences across countries in long-term
mortality trends, a common statistical method (indeed, one used by
Stuckler and colleagues in other work. Additionally, (Gerry et al. 2010)
found that the countries that undertook rapid (mass) privatisation took
place near, at, or after the end of a period of sustained increase in male
mortality trends in mortality, thus privatisers and non-privatisers do not
much differ. In fact the latter paper found that mass privatization led to
the reduction in mortality rates.

Year of
of Peak



Czech Rep



1990 1992




CIS States
Table. 4 Large Scale Privatisation Among the CEE, Baltic and CIS

Mass privatization is associated with the quick implementation of all
transition reforms at the same time. This is also known as shock therapy.
The immediate changes would have left people little time to adapt, a side
effect of which would have been eruption in violence and murders. In
Table. 4 above it is clear that with the exception of Albania and Estonia,

the higher homicide and intentional injury rates per 100,000 people are
reserved for countries such as Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Latvia,
Armenia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, all of which implemented
mass privatization or voucher-privatisation as their main method of
privatisation. These are the countries highlighted in red. Since only Czech
Republic is the only country in the CEE region that adopted the method of
mass privatisation yet has one of the lowest homicide rates in the entire
region, I will omit mass privatisation for CEE countries in my final model
to ensure its as robust as possible.

b. Trade Liberalisation promotes trade openness, discourages black
markets, hence reducing smuggling, drugs, prostitution and other forms
of illegal activities, a byproduct of which is violent crime (Prasad 2012).
Furthermore (Stuckler 2009) uses it as a control variable to control for
the effects of mass privatisation, while (Ghosh and Robertson 2012) show
that, in general equilibrium, trade liberalisation can reduce expropriation
activities and have a first-order effect on the gains from trade, thus
reducing crime. (Collier and Gunning 1999; Russett and Oneal 2001;
Books 2002; Andreas 2005) all present evidence that openness reduces
conflict and document how the imposition of trade sanctions caused
rising crimes in Yugoslavia.
However, the model also admits the possibility that globalization causes
an increase in crime, particularly for skilled-labor abundant countries
(Ghosh and Robertson 2012). Rising social conflict has been attributed to
trade liberalization episodes in several countries. For example, (Keen
2005) discusses the case of Sierra Leone, (Deraniyagala 2005) discusses
Nepal, and Brysk 1997) discuss some examples of rising social conflict in
the Latin American countries.


I have decided to employ panel data analysis because it allows me to
control for variables I cannot observe or measure like proportion of youth
or education enrolment across countries that change over time. Some
drawbacks of this are issues such as non-response in the case of micro
panels or cross-country dependency in the case of macro panels (i.e.
correlation between countries), but by using a panel data analysis with a
random effect estimation and country dummies, I can take into account
the country specific effects that are not constant over time, while avoiding
the issues of correlation between countries.
While a fixed effect estimation can control for unobserved time invariant
factors such as culture, country specificities and religion (Favarin, 2013),
there might be some time-variant variables that are omitted (Lin 2007).
For example homicide rates can also affect democracy and economic
growth, thus creating a problem of reverse causality. Below I have the
three models for each group of countries:

CEE_homicide_rates = x1GDPgrowthannual+ x2Gini_coeff +
x3ethnic_mixt + x4alcohol + x5war + x6democracy + x7health_exp
+ x8trade_lib
BALTIC_homicide_rates = x1mass_priv + x2GDPgrowthannual+
x3Gini_coeff + x4Infl + x5ethnic_mixt + x6alcohol + x7war +
x8democracy + x9health_exp x10trade_lib

CIS_homicide_rates = x1mass_priv + x2GDPgrowthannual+

x3Gini_coeff + x4Infl + x5ethnic_mixt + x6alcohol + x7war +
x8democracy + x9health_exp x10trade_lib

Since my initial results didnt exhibit consistency, I created three models

for CEE region. In the second model I dropped inflation because its
insignificance is consistent with the visual analysis performed earlier and
on the third model I dropped GDP per Capital because its highly
correlated with the Gini coefficient, besides not having a significant
impact on homicide. This ensured my model was more robust as GDP
growth became statistically significant. Before I present my results its
essential to note how each control variable is measured.

Control Variable
Unit of measure
Source of Data
GDP per Capita
World Health
Real gross domestic
Organisation Database
product, PPP$ per capita

GDP annual growth
Annual percentage growth The World Bank
rate of GDP at market
prices based on constant
local currency. Aggregates
are based on constant
2005 U.S. dollars
A Gini coefficient of zero
Data from UNU-WIDER,
expresses perfect equality, World Income Inequality
where all values are the
Database (WIID3.0b)
same (for example, where September 2014
everyone has the same
income). A Gini coefficient
of one (or 100%)
expresses maximal
inequality among values
(for example, where only

Ethnic mixture
Alcohol consumption


one person has all the

income or consumption,
and all others have none
Annual Average Rate of
Inflation %
Proportion of ethnic
minority habitants as %
of total population
Pure alcohol
consumption, litres per
capita, age 15+,

A state of armed
conflict between
organizations or
groups or coalitions of
such organizations.

World Health Organisation

The World Factbook
World Health
Organisation Database
The Correlates of War

Variable coded form 1-10, Annual level of democracy

with higher numbers
obtained by the Polity IV
representing more
democracies. Vertical
thresholds for Democracy
(+6 and above) and
Autocracy (-6 and below)
Health Expenditure
Total health expenditre as World Health Organisation
% of GDP, WHO estimates Database

Mass Privatisation
European Bank for
The measurement scale
Reconstruction and
for the indicators ranges
from 1 to 4+, where 1
represents little or no
change from a rigid
centrally planned
economy and 4+
represents the standards
of an industrialised market
Trade Liberalisation
European Bank for
The measurement scale
Reconstruction and
for the indicators ranges
from 1 to 4+, where 1
represents little or no
change from a rigid
centrally planned
economy and 4+
represents the standards
of an industrialised market
Table. 5 Control Variables Units of Measure and Sources of Data



------------------------------------------------Model 1
------------------------------------------------GDP/growth (annual~)







------------------------------------------------R2= 0.8161

*p<0.05, ** p<0.01, *** p<0.001

--------------------------------------------------------Model 1
--------------------------------------------------------GDP/growth (annual~)










Kyrgyz Republic





--------------------------------------------------------R2= 0.8161
*p<0.05, ** p<0.01, *** p<0.001


For the CEE region we consider the results of our final model 3. Empirical
evidence suggests that GDP growth, alcohol consumption, democracy,
inequality and war are statistically significant to the 99% confidence
level. For each additional war in the region homicide rates increase by
3.539 per 100,000, while for each increase in a unit of democracy
homicide rates decrease by 3.347 per 100,000.
War was also found to increase homicide rates in the CIS region to an
excessively large number of 14.743 per 100,000 for every war, while
democracy levels tested insignificant. This is in line with the theory that
despite highly developed democracies, countries plagued by internal
conflicts and ethnic tensions, something that CIS countries tested positive
towards, are likely to drown the benefits gained from highly developed
On the other hand, with exception to the Lithuanian OMON assaults
between 1990 and 1991, the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
were more peaceful in comparison to the other two regions, therefore
war tested insignificant. Further development of democracy on the other
hand leads to a decrease in homicide rates, albeit to a smaller extent than
in countries within the CEE region. This could be that despite generally
more developed democracies than the CEE states, the Baltics were
characterised by higher levels of ethnical fractionalization and although
most fully democratic countries may enjoy benefits of low crime rates,
some can be associated with higher crime rates due to social
disorganization(LaFree et. al 2006). This is also evident in the CIS region
where ethnic tensions test significantly to the 99% confidence level as an
explanatory variable for homicide rates.
Income inequality tests statistically significant as an explanatory variable
for homicides in the CEE region in line with researchers who have argued
that inequality in these countries has contributed to increases in post-
communist violent crime rates (Matutinovic 1998; Savelsberg 1995;
Karstedt 2003). In the Baltic region however, although the Gini coefficient
is statistically insignificant, inflation which tests significant to the 99%
confidence level, acts as a proxy for inequality (Albanesi, S. (2001,
Thalassinos 2012). The countries in the CEE region on the other hand test
insignificant for either the Gini coefficient or inflation and this is in line
with the findings of (Stamatel 2009) who concluded homicide not [to be]
significantly related to income inequality.
The results of alcohol consumption differ by far the most among regions.
In the CIS region each two liters of alcohol per capita consumed results in
nearly 1 homicide more per 100,000 people. (Popov 2011) argued that
alcohol consumption, although strongly correlated with the mortality rate,
was most likely not the core cause but a symptom of the same stress factors

that caused mortality such as wars and internal conflicts. Thus in the absence
of internal conflicts in the Baltic region, alcohol consumption tests
insignificant. The same cant be said for the CEE region, since it was not
only a war infested region, but a negative correlation between alcohol
consumption and homicide rates is also noted.
Health expenditure tested insignificant for all three regions and this could
be due to the inconsistency of data prior to 1995, while on the other hand
trade liberalisation tested significant for all three regions, although
results suggest effect among regions. Liberalising trade reduced
homicides in the CIS and Baltic region, however increased them in the
CEE region. This goes against the theory that trade liberalization
promotes trade openness, discourages black markets, reducing
smuggling, drugs, prostitution and other forms of illegal activities, a
byproduct of which is violent crime (Prasad 2012), as is the case for the CIS
and Baltic region and lines up with the theory that globalization encourages
an increase in crime, as there are more opportunities to exploit. (Ghosh
While mass privatisation was omitted from the CEE countries model, it
proves not only statistically significant for both Baltic and CIS regions, but
also by far the biggest contributor to homicide rates. The decision to mass
privatise led an increase of 39.9 homicides per 100,000 people in the
Baltic states and 28.4 homicides per 100,000 people in the CIS region. So
although economists like Jeffrey Sachs concluded that Czech Republic
outperformed most of other countries(Sachs 1994) due to the rapid
market reforms otherwise known as shock-therapy, a feature of which
was mass privatisation, it has been found by literature to negatively affect
inequality, unemployment and now homicide rates. This highlights the
tradeoff between superior future economic performance and present
human costs.
My empirical models and control variable analysis has provided a wider
framework for analysis criminal homicides in countries in transition
economies. However the excessively large effects of mass privatisation on
homicides suggests economic reforms such as governance restructuring,
financial system reform, price liberalisation and stabilization should also
be factored in to better control for the effects of shock therapy on
homicide rates. Furthermore, other literature has shown that over 60%
of the differences in the economic performance can in fact be explained by
uneven initial conditions, such as the level of development and pre-
transition disproportions in industrial structure and trade patterns
(Popov 2000), therefore new control variables could be introduced in
future econometric models.



Graph.1a UNDP Human Development Index HDI
Graph. 1b SDR, Homicide and Intentional Injury, 0-64, per 100,000
Graph. 2 Real Gross Domestic Product, PPP$ per capita
Graph. 3 Real Gross Domestic Product per Capita and Homicide Rates
Graph. 4 Annual Average Rate of inflation (%)
Graph. 5 Inflation and Homicide Rats
Graph. 6 Unemployment rate (%)
Graph. 7 Unemployment and Homicide Rates
Graph.8 GINI coefficients plotted over time
Graph .9 Voter Turnout as % of population
Graph. 10 Voter Turnout extrapolated
Graph. 11 Total Health Expenditure as % of GDP
Graph .12 Health Expenditure and Homicide Rates
Graph. 13 Ethnic Mixtures as % of Population
Graph 14. Pure Alcohol Consumption, Litres per Capita, age 15+
Graph 15. Pure Alcohol Consumption and Homicide Rates.
Graph. 16 Democracy Scores from Polity IV database (Undemocratic Threshold -
6/ Democratic Threshold +6)


Table. 1 Control variables that might explain homicide trends
Table. 2 Ethnic Mixtures as % of Population
Table. 3 Conflicts in the Regions of Study
Table. 4 Large Scale Privatisation Among the CEE, Baltic and CIS States
Table. 5 Control Variables Units of Measure and Sources of Data


Jalil Safaei,Post-Communist Health Transitions in Central and Eastern
EuropeEconomics Research International Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID

J. Figueras, M. McKee, J. Cain, and S. Lessof, Eds Winners and losers: the
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