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Who's Who in Crime Networks: Wanted - The Key Player

  • Ballester, Coralio
  • Calvó-Armengol, Antoni
  • Zenou, Yves

Criminals are embedded in a network of relationships. Social ties among criminals are modelled by means of a graph where criminals compete for a bounty and benefit from local interactions with their neighbours. Each criminal decides in a non-cooperative way how much crime effort they will exert. We show that the Nash equilibrium crime effort of each individual is proportional to their equilibrium Bonacich-centrality in the network, thus establishing a bridge to the sociology literature on social networks. We then analyse a policy that consists of finding and getting rid of the key player, that is, the criminal who, once removed, leads to the maximum reduction in aggregate crime. We provide a geometric characterization of the key player identified with an optimal inter-centrality measure, which takes into account both a player’s centrality and their contribution to the centrality of the others. We also provide a geometric characterization of the key group, which generalizes the key player for a group of criminals of a given size. We finally endogeneize the crime participation decision, resulting in a key player policy, which effectiveness depends on the outside opportunities available to criminals.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4421.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4421
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  1. Verdier, T. & Zenou, Y., 2000. "Racial Beliefs , Location and the Causes of Crime," DELTA Working Papers 2000-26, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Lance Lochner, 2004. "Education, Work, and Crime: A Human Capital Approach," NBER Working Papers 10478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Social Networks and Crime Decisions: The Role of Social Structure in Facilitating Delinquent Behavior," Working Paper Series 601, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
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  12. Leo Katz, 1953. "A new status index derived from sociometric analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 39-43, March.
  13. Yannis M. Ioannides, 2004. "Topologies Of Social Interactions," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 287, Econometric Society.
  14. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Discrete choice with social interactions," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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