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Leaders in Juvenile Crime

Author

Listed:
  • Díaz, Carlos
  • Patacchini, Eleonora
  • Verdier, Thierry
  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

This paper presents a new theory of crime where leaders transmit a crime technology and act as a role model for other criminals. We show that, in equilibrium, an individual's crime effort and crime decisions depend on the geodesic distance to the leader in his or her network of social contacts. By using data on friendship networks among U.S. high-school students, we structurally estimate the model and find evidence supporting its predictions. In particular, by using a definition of a criminal leader that is exogenous to the network formation of friendship links, we find that the longer is the distance to the leader, the lower is the criminal activity of the delinquents and the less likely they are to become criminals. This result highlights the importance of the closeness centrality of the leaders in explaining criminal behaviors. We finally perform a counterfactual experiment that reveals that a policy that removes all criminal leaders from a school can, on average, reduce criminal activity by about 20% and the individual probability of becoming a criminal by 10%.

Suggested Citation

  • Díaz, Carlos & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2018. "Leaders in Juvenile Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 13120, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13120
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mastrobuoni Giovanni & Patacchini Eleonora, 2012. "Organized Crime Networks: an Application of Network Analysis Techniques to the American Mafia," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-43, September.
    2. Prummer, Anja & Siedlarek, Jan-Peter, 2017. "Community leaders and the preservation of cultural traits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 143-176.
    3. Ji Tao & Lung‐fei Lee, 2014. "A social interaction model with an extreme order statistic," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 17(3), pages 197-240, October.
    4. Hahn, Youjin & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Network Structure and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 8872, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Liu, Xiaodong & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves & Lee, Lung-Fei, 2011. "Criminal Networks: Who is the Key Player?," Research Papers in Economics 2011:7, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    6. Boucher, Vincent, 2016. "Conformism and self-selection in social networks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 30-44.
    7. Tatsi, Eirini, 2015. "Endogenous Social Interactions: Which Peers Matter?," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113168, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    closeness centrality; Crime leaders; criminal decision; social distance;

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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