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Environmental Degradation and Violence in Transitional Society

  • Crisisonomy
  • Abbr : KRCEM
  • 2014, 10(4), pp.163-182
  • Publisher : Crisis and Emergency Management: Theory and Praxis
  • Research Area : Social Science > Public Policy > Public Policy in general

Kim SANG-WEON 1

1동의대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Previous research indicates that environmental scarcity can contribute to civil violence. Although environmental scarcity had often spurred violence in the past, in coming decades the incidence of such violence will probably increase as scarcities of cropland, freshwater, and forests worsen in many parts of the world. Scarcity’s role in such violence, however, is often obscure and indirect. It interacts with political, economic, and other factors to generate harsh social effects that in turn help produce violence. Analysts often interpret these social effects as the conflict’s principal causes, thus overlooking scarcity’s influence as underlying stress. Relying upon recent criminological literature, this study tested the hypotheses that areas with higher levels of environmental pollution will have higher homicide rates. Utilizing date from Russian regions(n=78) and controlling for other structural covariates, Ordinary Least Squares(OLS) regression was employed to estimate the effects of environmental pollution on regional homicide rates. The results provided the support for direct effects of environmental pollution on homicide. The findings showed that regions exhibiting high level of environmental pollution were regions with higher levels of homicide rates. During radical social changes in Russia, the prerequisites for effective adaptation to scarcity did not exist. Local governments are weak, bureaucracies incompetent, judicial systems corrupt, research centers underfunded, and rule of law was not implemented. Under certain circumstances, scarcity mobilize narrow coalitions and powerful elites to block the institutional reforms that could reduce scarcity's broader social impact.

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