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Status-Seeking in Criminal Subcultures and the Double Dividend of Zero-Tolerance

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  • Robert Dur

Abstract

This paper offers a new argument for why a more aggressive enforcement of minor offenses (‘zero-tolerance’) may yield a double dividend in that it reduces both minor offenses and more severe crime. We develop a model of criminal subcultures in which people gain social status among their peers for being ‘tough’ by committing criminal acts. As zero-tolerance keeps relatively ‘gutless’ people from committing a minor offense, the signaling value of that action increases, which makes it attractive for some people who would otherwise commit more severe crime. If social status is sufficiently important in criminal subcultures, zero-tolerance reduces crime across the board.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Dur, 2006. "Status-Seeking in Criminal Subcultures and the Double Dividend of Zero-Tolerance," CESifo Working Paper Series 1762, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1762
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. van der Weele Joël, 2012. "Beyond the State of Nature: Introducing Social Interactions in the Economic Model of Crime," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 401-432, October.
    2. Bruno Borger & Amihai Glazer, 2016. "Signaling, network externalities, and subsidies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(5), pages 798-811, October.
    3. Panu Poutvaara & Mikael Priks, 2011. "Unemployment and gang crime: can prosperity backfire?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 259-273, September.
    4. Friehe, Tim, 2013. "Tempting righteous citizens? Counterintuitive effects of increasing sanctions in the realm of organized crime," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 37-40.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    status concerns; street crime; subcultures; penalties; zero-tolerance; broken windows policing;

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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