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

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  • Robert Dur

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.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2006/wp-cesifo-2006-07/cesifo1_wp1762.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1762.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1762

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Keywords: status concerns; street crime; subcultures; penalties; zero-tolerance; broken windows policing;

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References

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  1. Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-48, May.
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  18. Robert Dur, 2006. "Status-Seeking in Violent Subcultures and the Double Dividend of Zero-Tolerance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers, Tinbergen Institute 06-005/1, Tinbergen Institute.
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  26. Ferrer, Rosa, 2010. "Breaking the law when others do: A model of law enforcement with neighborhood externalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 163-180, February.
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Cited by:
  1. 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, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 37-40.
  2. Poutvaara, Panu & Priks, Mikael, 2011. "Unemployment and gang crime: Can prosperity backfire?," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 19790, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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