Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to critique recent findings that democratic practices are positively related to homicide rates. Design/methodology/approach – Economic rational choice model supported by empirical evidence. Findings – It was found that higher homicide rates are only characteristic of democracies that fail to respond to the median voter's call for equitable social development. Originality/value – The paper makes an original distinction between conservative and social democracies, operationalizes this distinction theoretically and empirically, and shows that higher homicide rates are a phenomenon of conservative, not social, democracies.
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