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75 between an income inequality measure and the homicide rate. Despite this abundant evidence, the proposition that inequity per se is relevant remains controversial. In an early study of income inequality’s effects on property crime, Jacobs (1981, p. 14) asserted that regardless of whether one is comparing nations, states, or cities, the correlation between inequality and average income is “always negative,” and this tendency for low average income and high income inequality to go hand in hand challenges the conclusion that inequity per se is critical.

Psychologists, economists, and criminologists have found that young adults, the poor, and criminal offenders all tend to discount the future relatively steeply. Such tendencies have been called “impulsivity” and “short time horizons,” or, more pejoratively, impatience, myopia, lack of self-control, and incapacity to delay gratification. Behind the use of such terms lie two dubious presumptions, namely that steep discounting is pathological and that the appropriate weighting of present rewards against future investments is independent of life stage and socioeconomic circumstance.

The irony is that theory and research in 17 Risk-taking, Intrasexual Competition, and Homicide Figure 4. Age-specific homicide rates (homicides per million persons per annum) for men and women who killed an unrelated person of the same sex in Canada, 1974–1992 (upper panel), and in Chicago, 1965–1989 (lower panel). Data include all homicides known to police for whom a killer was identified. (Data from Wilson & Daly 1994). behavioral ecology, sociobiology, and evolutionary psychology are primarily focused on contingent responses to social and material circumstances.

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