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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Douhou, Salima & Magnus, Jan R. & van Soest, Arthur, 2011. "The perception of small crime," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 749-763.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:27:y:2011:i:4:p:749-763
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2011.05.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stylianou, Stelios, 2003. "Measuring crime seriousness perceptions: What have we learned and what else do we want to know," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 37-56.
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    8. Orviska, Marta & Hudson, John, 2003. "Tax evasion, civic duty and the law abiding citizen," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 83-102, March.
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    10. Traxler, Christian, 2010. "Social norms and conditional cooperative taxpayers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-103, March.
    11. Traxler, Christian & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Survey evidence on conditional norm enforcement," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 390-398.
    12. Warneryd, Karl-Erik & Walerud, Bengt, 1982. "Taxes and economic behavior: Some interview data on tax evasion in Sweden," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 187-211, September.
    13. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 225-258, December.
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    18. Kwan, Ying Keung & Chiu, Lai Lin & Ip, Wai Cheong & Kwan, Patrick, 2002. "Perceived crime seriousness: Consensus and disparity," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 623-632.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Entorf, Horst, 2012. "Expected recidivism among young offenders: Comparing specific deterrence under juvenile and adult criminal law," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 414-429.
    2. repec:eee:poleco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:85-102 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Salima Douhou & Jan Magnus & Arthur Soest, 2012. "Peer Reporting and the Perception of Fairness," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 289-310, September.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:814-:d:136317 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Friehe, Tim & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2017. "Predicting norm enforcement: The individual and joint predictive power of economic preferences, personality, and self-control," DICE Discussion Papers 265, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    6. Traxler, Christian & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Survey evidence on conditional norm enforcement," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 390-398.
    7. 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", vol. 31(3), pages 52-78.
    8. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:45:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10657-017-9556-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime seriousness; Social norms; Vignettes;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

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