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Crime and Conformism

  • Patacchini, Eleonora
  • Zenou, Yves

We propose a simple conformism model that explains how parental education and peer pressure impact on criminal activities. We then test the model using the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (AddHealth), which contains unique information on friendship relationships among delinquent teenagers. We find that conformity is very strong within groups of delinquents and that the higher the taste for conformity of an individual, the lower the deviation from the norm's group. These results suggest that, for teenagers, the decision to commit crimes is not a simple choice based primarily on individual considerations but is strongly affected by their environment and peers.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5331.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5331
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  1. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  3. Ballester, Coralio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Who’s Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," CEPR Discussion Papers 5329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2006. "Strong and Weak Ties in Employment and Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 5448, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Fershtman, C. & Weiss,Y., 1995. "Social Rewards, Externalities and Stable Preferences," Papers 32-95, Tel Aviv.
  6. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2004. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-95, December.
  8. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2003. "Social Networks and Crime Decisions: The Role of Social Structure in Facilitating Delinquent Behavior," Working Papers 52, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  9. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  11. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
  12. Durlauf, Steven N., 2004. "Neighborhood effects," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 50, pages 2173-2242 Elsevier.
  13. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  14. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education and Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 5244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 655-679.
  16. Dan Silverman, 2004. "Street Crime And Street Culture," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 761-786, 08.
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