Social status and crime
We consider a large population of agents choosing either to engage in a criminal activity or working. Individuals feel varying degrees of selfreproach if they commit criminal acts. In addition, they are concerned with their social status in society, based on others’ perceptions of their values. In making their decisions, individuals weigh both the material and social risks of being a criminal and a worker. We find that introducing social status concerns may induce multiple equilibria. We also consider the implications of intragroup and intergroup interactions in an economy with two classes of earning abilities. Typically, there is more crime in the low ability group and increasing punishment reduces crime, but the opposite may also be true.
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