Crime and ethnic diversity: cross-country evidence

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill , Emmanuel Laryea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Is the level of crime in countries explained by ethnic diversity? This study attempts to answer this question by providing empirical evidence that examines the effects of ethnic and linguistic fractionalization on various measures of crime rates, including prosecution and conviction rates. Drawing on data across 78 countries, our study addresses the endogenous nature of the association between ethnic diversity and crime. Our empirical findings show, rather unexpectedly and counterintuitively, that higher levels of ethnic and linguistic diversity tend to aid in the reduction of crime rates and, consequently, lead to lower prosecution and conviction rates. We advance possible reasons for this unexpected result and outline some policy recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-269
Number of pages31
JournalCrime & Delinquency
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • crime
  • prosecution
  • conviction
  • ethnic diversity
  • fractionalization

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