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The perception of small crime

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  • Douhou, Salima
  • Magnus, Jan R.
  • van Soest, Arthur

Abstract

In this paper we measure perceptions of incorrect behavior or ‘small crime’, based on a questionnaire administered to a large representative sample from the Dutch population. In the questionnaire we ask the respondents to rate the severity or justifiability of a number of small crimes. We present short questions that only state the nature of the small crime, as well as vignette questions, describing in detail a fictitious person committing the small crime and other factors related to the circumstances in which the small crime is committed. We find that the perceived severity of small crimes varies systematically with characteristics of the respondent as well as of the person committing the crime. Also, the association between respondent characteristics and perceived seriousness changes if the respondents are given more information about the offender and the circumstances of the offense.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 27 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 749-763

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:27:y:2011:i:4:p:749-763

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

Related research

Keywords: Crime seriousness; Social norms; Vignettes;

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References

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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1996. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," NBER Working Papers 5430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sebastian Kube & Christian Traxler, 2011. "The Interaction of Legal and Social Norm Enforcement," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(5), pages 639-660, October.
  3. Traxler, Christian & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Survey evidence on conditional norm enforcement," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 19645, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  5. Balestrino, Alessandro, 2008. "It is a theft but not a crime," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 455-469, June.
  6. Kwan, Ying Keung & Chiu, Lai Lin & Ip, Wai Cheong & Kwan, Patrick, 2002. "Perceived crime seriousness: Consensus and disparity," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 623-632.
  7. Traxler, Christian, 2010. "Social norms and conditional cooperative taxpayers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-103, March.
  8. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics qt3w34j60j, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  9. Warneryd, Karl-Erik & Walerud, Bengt, 1982. "Taxes and economic behavior: Some interview data on tax evasion in Sweden," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 187-211, September.
  10. Cooter, Robert, 1998. "Expressive Law and Economics," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 585-608, June.
  11. Stylianou, Stelios, 2003. "Measuring crime seriousness perceptions: What have we learned and what else do we want to know," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 37-56.
  12. Greenberg, Jerald, 2002. "Who stole the money, and when? Individual and situational determinants of employee theft," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 985-1003, September.
  13. Beattie, Jane & Loomes, Graham, 1997. "The Impact of Incentives upon Risky Choice Experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 155-68, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Douhou, Salima & Van Soest, Arthur, 2013. "Explaining subjective well-being: The role of victimization, trust, health, and social norms," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 52-78.
  2. Salima Douhou & Jan Magnus & Arthur Soest, 2012. "Peer Reporting and the Perception of Fairness," De Economist, Springer, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 289-310, September.
  3. Traxler, Christian & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Survey evidence on conditional norm enforcement," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 390-398.
  4. Entorf, Horst, 2012. "Expected recidivism among young offenders: Comparing specific deterrence under juvenile and adult criminal law," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 414-429.

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