Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice

Committee Director

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

James Oleson

Committee Member

Judi Caron-Sheppard


This paper examines the relationship between conscription laws (mandatory military or social service) and crime rates across countries. This cross-national study focuses on three major crimes: burglary, robbery, and homicide. In addition to conscription laws several control variables have been included in the analyses are: percent of the labor force that is military, level of civil liberties/freedom, level of industrialization, illiteracy rates, percent of urban population, unemployment rates, percent under the international poverty line, income disparity (measured using the Gini index), and population.

This study assesses the impact of conscription on crime rates by formulating and testing three hypotheses. First, mandatory military service and mandatory military with social service option is negatively related to crime across nations. Secondly, mandatory military service with a social service option has stronger affects on crime than simply mandatory military service. Lastly, both types of mandatory service will be significant when the control variables are included in analyses.


A Thesis Submitted to the Faculties of Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Arts in Applied Sociology.