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Social Networks and Crime Decisions: The Role of Social Structure in Facilitating Delinquent Behavior

  • Antoni Calvó-Armengol
  • Yves Zenou

We develop a model in which delinquents compete with each other in criminal activities but may benefit from being friends with other criminals by learning and acquiring proper know-how on the crime business. By taking the social network connecting agents as given, we study the subgame perfect Nash equilibrium of this game in which individuals decide first to work or to become a criminal and then the crime effort provided if criminals. We show that this game always has a pure strategy subgame perfect Nash equilibrium that we characterize. Ex ante identical individuals connected through a network can end up with very different equilibrium outcomes: either employed, or isolated criminal or criminals in networks. We also show that multiple equilibria with different number of active criminals and levels of involvement in crime activities may coexist and are only driven by the geometry of the pattern of links connecting criminals.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 52.

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Date of creation: May 2003
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:52
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  1. Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "Social Networks in Determining Employment and Wages: Patterns, Dynamics, and Inequality," Microeconomics 0211007, EconWPA.
  2. Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2000. "Racial Beliefs, Location And The Causes Of Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 2455, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Thierry Verdier & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Strong and Weak Ties in Employment and Crime," Working Papers 180, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  19. Lochner, L., 1999. "Education, Work, and Crime: Theory and Evidence," RCER Working Papers 465, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  20. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Merlo, Antonio & Rupert, Peter, 2000. "On the Political Economy of Income Redistribution and Crime," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 1-25, February.
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