Abstract: This note evaluates the claim of Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature that the advent of strong states led to a decline in violence. I test this claim in the modern context, measuring the effect of the strength of government in lower-income countries on reductions in homicide rates. The strength of government is measured using Polity IV, Worldwide Governance Indicators, and government consumption as a percentage of GDP. The data do not support Pinker’s hypothesis.
Keywords: homicide, political institutions, Steven Pinker
JEL Codes: D74, H11