Justice Quarterly

Pridemore, William Alex*, Sean Patrick Roche, and Meghan L. Rogers


Substantial variation in national crime rates suggests social structure and cultural context influence offending and victimization. Several prominent criminological theories anticipate a positive association between the prevalence of cash in a society and its rates of pecuniary crime. We examined the association between one form of “cashlessness” and national robbery rates across nations (n = 67), controlling for several structural covariates of national crime rates. We obtained data on robbery from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and data on government-based cashlessness from the Global Financial Inclusion Database. We found nations with higher levels of government-based cashlessness had lower robbery rates (β = −.41, p = .02). We also undertook several sensitivity analyses, including tests for a relationship with commercial cashlessness and for crimes like homicide and burglary. Our results suggest technological advancements that reduce cash in a society may have implications for a nation’s robbery rates.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff