Presentation on theme: "Historical Institutionalism, Agendas and Crime: an analysis of the politics of crime since 1979 Will Jennings, Stephen Farrall, Colin Hay and Emily Gray."— Presentation transcript:
Historical Institutionalism, Agendas and Crime: an analysis of the politics of crime since 1979 Will Jennings, Stephen Farrall, Colin Hay and Emily Gray BCH 2014
Figure 1: Property Crime Per Capita (Home Office Recorded Statistics and BCS)
Economic change Changes in the housing market Changes in social security provision Changes in education policies (esp. after 1988) In which ways might this be a legacy of ‘Thatcherite’ policies?
Economic Changes During the 1970s there was a move away from the commitment to Keynesian policies and full employment. Dramatic economic restructuring overseen by Thatcher governments. Consequently, levels of unemployment rose through the 1980s (see Fig 2).
This in turn led to increases in levels of inequality (Figure 3), augmented by changes in taxation policies which favoured the better off. Economic Changes
Figure 3: Income Inequality (Gini coefficient), 1970-2006
Using time series analyses for 1961-2006 Jennings et al (2012) find statistically significant relationships for: 1: the unemployment rate on the rate of property crime (consistent with other studies), 2: we also find that the crime-economy link strengthened during this period. 3: (economic inequality just outside bounds of significance). The Economy and Crime in Post-War Britain
1980 Housing Act (+ others): created RTB – saw a huge rise in owner-occupation. Held to have created residualisation of council housing; transient/marginalised residents with low levels of employment. Contributed to increases in inequality (Ginsberg, 1989) and concentration of crime (Murie, 1997). Housing Policy
Social Security 1980-1985: Some tinkering with the DHSS. 1986 Social Security Act based on Fowler Review. Following this payments reduced for many individual benefits claimants (whilst total spend increased due to unemployment).
Social Security Evidence to suggest that reductions in government expenditure are associated with rises in crime during the 1980s (Reilly and Witt, 1992). Jennings et al (2012) suggest that increases in welfare spending is associated with declines in the property crime rate.
Education Changes in education policies encouraged schools to exclude children in order to improve place in league tables. Exclusions rose during the 1990s, reaching a peak of 12,668 in 1996-97.
Education Dumped on the streets this fuelled ASB (Home Office RDS Occ. Paper No. 71). The BCS 1992-2006 shows sudden jump of people reporting “teens hanging around” to be a problem from an average of 8% before 2001 to 30% after 2002. School exclusions helped to create discourse of ASB and need for C&DA 1998.
What happened to crime (etc)? Rise in crime (Fig 5). This was generally rising before 1979, but the rate of increase picked up after early 1980s and again in early 1990s. Fear of crime rises (tracks crime rates, Fig 6). People want to see an increase in spending on the police/prisons (with decrease of spending on social security, Fig 7).
Figure 5: Property Crime Per Capita (Home Office Recorded Statistics and BCS)
Figure 6: Percentage worried about crime (BCS 1982-2005)
Fig 7: Priorities for extra spending (social security vs. police) BSAS 1983-2009
Labour Party’s Response Move to the political right. ‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’. Focus on ‘young offenders’ (Pledge Card, C&DA, YJB, changes to doli incapax). Did not oppose Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 despite it being quite draconian (‘3 strikes’, minimum mandatory sentences).
Labour In Government Needed to do something about crime because … a) it actually was a problem (peak was in 1994) but still a source of public concern b) they needed to be seen to be doing something to avoid being accused of having ‘gone soft on crime again’.
What have Govts done? They devote more time to crime in it’s expressed policy agenda (Fig 8). Little sustained interest in crime until 60s (2%). After 1979 GE rises to 8%. Big jump again in 1996 (15%). Thereafter runs at or near to 20%.
Figure 8: Proportion of attention to law and crime in Queen’s Speech (from policyagendas.org)
What have Govts done? Farrall and Jennings report statistically significant relationships for: 1: national crime rate on Govt attention on crime in Queen’s Speeches, and, 2: effects of public opinion on Govt. attention on crime in Queen’s Speeches. So the Govt responds to crime rates and expressions of public concern about crime.