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Key Players in Co-Offending Networks

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  • Lindquist, Matthew J.

    ()
    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Zenou, Yves

    ()
    (Stockholm University)

Abstract

We study peer effects in crime by analyzing co-offending networks. We first provide a credible estimate of peer effects in these networks equal to 0.17. This estimate implies a social multiplier of 1.2 for those individuals linked to only one co-offender and a social multiplier of 2 for those linked to three co-offenders. We then provide one of the first empirical tests of the key player policy in a real world setting. This policy defines a micro-founded strategy for removing the criminal from each network that reduces total crime by the largest amount. Using longitudinal data, we are able to compare the theoretical predictions of the key player policy with real world outcomes. By focusing on networks for which the key player has disappeared over time, we show that the theoretical predicted crime reduction is close to what is observed in the real world. We also show that the key player policy outperforms other reasonable police policies such as targeting the most active criminals or targeting criminals who have the highest betweenness or eigenvector centrality in the network. This indicates that behavioral-based policies can be more efficient in reducing crime than those based on algorithms that have no micro-foundation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8012.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8012

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Keywords: crime; social networks; peer effects; social multiplier; key player; crime policies;

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  1. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2004. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2012. "Juvenile Delinquency and Conformism," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-31.
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  12. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati, 2010. "Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behaviour: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment," CSEF Working Papers, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy 270, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  13. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Guido W. Imbens, 2013. "Social Networks and the Identification of Peer Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 253-264, July.
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  16. Mastrobuoni Giovanni & Patacchini Eleonora, 2012. "Organized Crime Networks: an Application of Network Analysis Techniques to the American Mafia," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-43, September.
  17. Leo Katz, 1953. "A new status index derived from sociometric analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 39-43, March.
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