This research examined cross-national differences in the association between social class and delinquency. The poverty hypothesis expects socioeconomic disadvantage to exert a causal influence on delinquent behavior. This expectation implies that the individual-level association between family SES and delinquent offending will be attenuated at increased levels of collective social protection. The social selection perspective also assumes a negative relationship between SES and delinquency but explains it away as a spurious consequence of intergenerational transmission of antisocial propensity. In light of comparative research on social stratification, the selection perspective suggests that the association between low parental SES and offspring criminality may be stronger in advanced welfare states due to reduced influence of ascribed characteristics on socioeconomic attainment in these countries. Survey data from 26 European countries (n=78,703) were used to evaluate the validity of these conflicting hypotheses. In support of the selection perspective, results showed that class differences in delinquent offending are larger in more advanced welfare states.
- cross-national comparison
- social selection
- socioeconomic status
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science