Graduate Scholar Talk - December 16, 2020

How Does the State Replace the Community? Experimental Evidence on Crime Control from South Africa

Speaker: Anna Wilke, Political Science Department

Throughout the developing world, citizens often hesitate to bring crimes to the attention of the state. In many contexts, victims of crime instead turn to their community – family, friends, and neighbors – who brutally punish or even kill criminal suspects. Wilke's research is set in South Africa where vigilantism of this kind causes an average of two deaths every day. Drawing on evidence from a randomized control trial, she explores how citizens’ willingness to take the law into their own hands is shaped by the capacity of law enforcement institutions like the police.