Governmental Action, Social Norms, and Criminal Behavior
This article explores the relationship between governmental deterrence, crime, and the strength of social norms against crime. Based on experimental research in psychology and economics, I argue that the strength of the social norm of "not committing a crime" is shaped by social interactions. Modeling these social interactions exhibits self-reinforcing processes of crime and multiple equilibria. As for the impact of governmental deterrence, I show that harsher governmental deterrence reduces crime directly as well as indirectly through its impact on social norms.
Volume (Year): 161 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
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National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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