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Status-Seeking in Criminal Subcultures and the Double Dividend of Zero-Tolerance

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  • ROBERT DUR
  • JOËL VAN DER WEELE

Abstract

This paper offers a new argument for why a more aggressive enforcement of minor offenses (‘zero-tolerance’) may yield a double dividend in that it reduces both minor offenses and more severe crime. We develop a model of criminal subcultures in which people gain social status among their peers for being ‘tough’ by committing criminal acts. As zero-tolerance keeps relatively ‘gutless’ people from committing a minor offense, the signaling value of that action increases, which makes it attractive for some people who would otherwise commit more severe crime. If social status is sufficiently important in criminal subcultures, zero-tolerance reduces crime across the board.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 15 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 77-93

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:15:y:2013:i:1:p:77-93

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Panu Poutvaara & Mikael Priks, 2011. "Unemployment and gang crime: can prosperity backfire?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-273, September.
  2. Friehe, Tim, 2013. "Tempting righteous citizens? Counterintuitive effects of increasing sanctions in the realm of organized crime," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 37-40.

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