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Social Capital, Too Much of a Good Thing?  American Religious Traditions and Community Crime

  • Author(s): Beyerlein, Kraig
  • Hipp, John R
  • et al.
Abstract

"Using American religious traditions as measures of bonding and bridging social capital in communities, we empirically test how these different forms of social capital affect crime rates in 3,157 U.S. counties in 2000.  Our results suggest that the bonding networks evangelical Protestants promote in communities explain why counties with a greater percentage of residents affiliated with this tradition consistently have higher crime rates.  Conversely, our results suggest that the bridging networks mainline Protestants and Catholics foster in communities explain why counties with a greater percentage of residents affiliated with these traditions generally have lower crime rates.  This article provides empirical corroboration for recent theoretical discussions focused on how the social capital groups cultivate in communities need not always benefit communities as a whole."Reprinted in Contemporary Readings in Sociology.  (2008).  Kathleen Korgen (ed.).  Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press.  Chapter 9. http://www.pineforge.com/textbooksProdDesc.nav?level1=Course879&currTree=Courses&catLevel1=&prodId=Book230444

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