Exploring sources of punitiveness among German citizens

Joshua C. Cochran, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Prior research examining punitive attitudes has typically focused on the United States and citizens' support for the death penalty or American "gettough" criminal policies. Yet, little is known as to how punitive attitudes and their sources vary internationally. Using Germany as a case study, this article expands the scope of punitiveness research by examining how factors typically examined in American studies, such as cynicism, institutional trust, law and order culture, and antiminority attitudes, relate to citizen beliefs about punishment in a different cultural context. Findings suggest that distrust of the judicial system, political prioritization of law and order, and antiminority attitudes predict citizens' support for severe punishment as an effective crime-reduction technique. Implications and directions for future research are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-571
Number of pages28
JournalCrime & Delinquency
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • attitudes
  • Germany
  • public opinion
  • punishment
  • punitiveness

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