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Juvenile Delinquency and Conformism

  • Eleonora Patacchini
  • Yves Zenou

This article studies whether conformism behavior affects individual outcomes in crime. We present a social network model of peer effects with ex ante heterogeneous agents and show how conformism and deterrence affect criminal activities. We then bring the model to the data by using a very detailed data set of adolescent friendship networks. A novel social network--based empirical strategy allows us to identify peer effects for different types of crimes. We find that conformity plays an important role for all crimes, especially for petty crimes. This suggests that, for juvenile crime, an effective policy should be measured not only by the possible crime reduction it implies but also by the group interactions it engenders. The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Volume (Year): 28 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-31

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:28:y::i:1:p:1-31
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  1. Yann Bramoullé & Habiba Djebbari & Bernard Fortin, 2007. "Identification of Peer Effects through Social Networks," Cahiers de recherche 0705, CIRPEE.
  2. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 3859, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2015. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," Working Papers 178, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "The strength of weak ties in crime," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 209-236, February.
  5. Ballester, Coralio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2009. "Delinquent Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 7293, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
  7. Conley, John P. & Wang, Ping, 2006. "Crime and ethics," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 107-123, July.
  8. H. Naci Mocan & Daniel I. Rees, 1999. "Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 7405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cohen-Cole, Ethan, 2006. "Multiple groups identification in the linear-in-means model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 157-162, August.
  10. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147, February.
  11. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ferrer, Rosa, 2010. "Breaking the law when others do: A model of law enforcement with neighborhood externalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 163-180, February.
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