The Role of Deprivation and Alcohol Availability in Shaping Trends in Violent Crime
It is well known that both deprivation and alcohol availability are associated with violent crime. However, less is known about whether the former moderates the latter. Pioneering the linkage of novel alcohol availability measures derived from consumer data with police data and an index of deprivation, we examine inequalities in violent crime across small-level geography (LSOAs) for the whole of England. Our findings confirmed a recent upward trend in recorded violent crime in England between 2011 and 2018 and substantial between-area variability in recorded violent crime, as well as an increase in violent crime inequality across LSOAs during the period of analysis. Violent crime was higher in areas with increased deprivation and alcohol availability, especially in the form of on-licensed premises. On-licence availability, in the form of pubs, bars and nightclubs, explained variability in recorded violent crime more so when compared with off-licence availability. A positive interaction effect between alcohol availability (in the form of on-licensed premises) and deprivation showed how deprivation amplified the impact of alcohol availability, with more deprived areas having a stronger impact of on-licence availability on violent crime. Deprivation is thus an important contextual factor when considering rates and the social ecology of violence. Our findings suggest a need to respond to the disproportionate impact of violence on areas with higher levels of deprivation and availability of on-licensed premises.
Decentralization as a Multifaceted Concept: A more Encompassing Index Using Bayesian Statistics
Most measures of political decentralization seem to capture only specific facets of the concept. In particular, the excessive dependence on fiscal indicators has often been criticized since they seem unable to assess the degree of autonomy exerted by subnational governments. On the other hand, efforts directed at developing more encompassing indexes have had to rely on the aggregation of items developed by experts, a process that is prone to idiosyncratic errors. In this paper I propose the development of a measurement framework using a Bayesian factor analysis model for mixed ordinal and continuous outcomes. This model can efficiently combine multiple measures of decentralization regardless of their level of measurement, and in this way make use of both the rigour of fiscal indicators and the wider coverage of qualitative indicators. Applying this model to a set of 14 indicators I elaborate a more encompassing index of decentralization for 33 OECD countries. In order to illustrate the importance of using non-partial measures of decentralization, I use this index to replicate parts of De Mello and Barenstein (2001) exploratory analysis regarding the relationship between decentralization and corruption, showing that such relationship is practically non-existent.