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Personal security since 1820

By Joerg Baten, Winny Bierman, Jan Luiten van Zanden and Peter Foldvari


Personal security reflects a crucial component of well-being. This chapter relies on homicide rates (the number of intentional deaths per 100 000 inhabitants) to trace changes of violence in time and space. It finds that Western Europe was already quite peaceful from the 19th century onwards, but homicide rates in the United States have been high by comparison. Large parts of Latin America and Africa are also violent crime "hotspots", and so is the former Soviet Union (especially since the fall of communism), while large parts of Asia show low homicide rates. Homicide rates are in general negatively correlated with GDP per capita – the richer a country, the lower the level, but there are important exceptions. In addition, the chapter describes changes in the probability that a random individual lives in a country experiencing an armed internal or external conflict

Year: 2014
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