IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/ratsoc/v26y2014i1p3-45.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Thick as thieves: Homophily and trust among deviants

Author

Listed:
  • Jennifer Flashman

    (University of Notre Dame, USA)

  • Diego Gambetta

    (European University Institute, Italy; University of Oxford, UK)

Abstract

Individuals who engage in deviant behaviors are more likely to be friends with other deviants compared to non-deviants. This pattern has been observed across different types of deviant activities and among different age groups. In question, however, is the mechanism that underlies this pattern. In this article we develop and test a new theory to explain homophily among deviants. Deviance makes one vulnerable to the risk of being caught and sanctioned. This vulnerability imposes a stringent constraint on deviants’ choice of friends. Following Thomas Schelling, we conjecture that a way to establish trust consists of making oneself “blackmailable†by disclosing compromising information on one’s misdeeds, or sharing compromising secrets (SCS). If two individuals share their illicit behaviors with one another, both are made vulnerable and a friendship can be established. We propose a series of hypotheses derived from SCS comparing levels of homophily in deviant and non-deviant behaviors. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health we estimate adolescents’ preferences for deviant and non-deviant friends, within and across types of activities, and across different social contexts. Together, these tests allow us to distinguish between the theory we develop, SCS, and alternatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Flashman & Diego Gambetta, 2014. "Thick as thieves: Homophily and trust among deviants," Rationality and Society, , vol. 26(1), pages 3-45, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:26:y:2014:i:1:p:3-45
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://rss.sagepub.com/content/26/1/3.abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Adolescence; deviance; friendship; homophily; trust;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:26:y:2014:i:1:p:3-45. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.