Socioeconomic Conditions and Violence in Cape Town, South Africa

Type Journal Article - Economics of Peace and Security Journal
Title Socioeconomic Conditions and Violence in Cape Town, South Africa
Volume 9
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 34-42
There is considerable debate over the causes of violence around the world, one which goes beyond the analysis of conflict to consider the dynamics of community behavior and the importance of economic and behavioral factors. South Africa competes with Colombia, Venezuela, and a number of Central American countries for the unwelcome distinction of having among the world’s highest homicide rates, and high prevalence of other forms of violence, including domestic and sexual violence, are also appallingly prevalent. This article presents an analysis of data from a panel of young men in Cape Town. It provides little support for the hypothesis that unemployment is a direct cause of violence against strangers. The impact of drinking (or taking drugs) by adults in the home or by the young men themselves, living in a bad neighborhood, and immediate poverty are associated with violence against strangers, but being unemployed is not. This suggests that few young people in South Africa in the early 2000s come from backgrounds that strongly predispose them against the use of violence.

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