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Strong and Weak Ties in Employment and Crime

  • Antoni Calvó-Armengol
  • Thierry Verdier
  • Yves Zenou

This paper analyses the interplay between social structure and information exchange in two competing activities, crime and labor. We consider a dynamic model in which individuals belong to mutually exclusive two-person groups, referred to as dyads. Two individuals belonging to the same dyad hold a strong tie with each other, but each dyad partner can meet other individuals outside the dyad partnership, referred to as weak ties. Individuals learn about crime opportunities either through strong or weak ties and learn about jobs through employment agencies. There are multiple equilibria. If jobs are badly paid and/or crime is profitable, unemployment benefits have to be low enough to prevent workers for staying too long in the unemployment status because they are vulnerable to crime activities while, if people are well paid and/or crime is not profitable, unemployment benefits have to be high enough to induce workers to stay unemployed rather to commit crime because they are less vulnerable to crime activities. Social cohesion favors employment but also knits together delinquents into resilient clusters, and more deterrence effort is needed to reduce crime.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 180.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:180
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  11. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 426-454, June.
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  21. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," Working Papers 178, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  22. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 1996. "On the political economy of income redistribution and crime," Staff Report 216, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  24. Jens Ludwig & Greg J. Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2001. "Urban Poverty And Juvenile Crime: Evidence From A Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 655-679, May.
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