A History of Violence: the Culture of Honor As a Determinant of Homicide in the Us South

Pauline Grosjean (University of San Francisco)

Abstract: According to the culture of honor hypothesis, the high prevalence of homicides in the US South originates from the settlement of the region by herders from the fringes of Britain. This paper confirms that Scot or Scots-Irish settlements are associated with higher homicide today, but only in the South. The effect is strongest among whites and more pronounced where herding was more prevalent and institutional quality weaker. Results indicate that other white settlers adopted the Scots-Irish culture. The interpretation is that the culture of honor persisted in the South as an adaptive behavior to economic vulnerability and weak institutions.

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