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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5331
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  1. 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.
  2. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "Strong and weak ties in employment and crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 203-233, February.
  3. 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.
  4. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2005. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: the Key Player," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000586,
  5. 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.
  6. Fershtman, C. & Weiss,Y., 1995. "Social Rewards, Externalities and Stable Preferences," Papers 32-95, Tel Aviv.
  7. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Social Networks and Crime Decisions: The Role of Social Structure in Facilitating Delinquent Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 3966, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. repec:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:1:p:87-130 is not listed on IDEAS
  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. repec:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:2:p:507-48 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:94:y:1980:i:4:p:749-75 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. 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.
  13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:2:p:655-679 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  15. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  16. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
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