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Who's Who in Crime Network. Wanted the Key Player

  • Ballester, Coralio

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Calvó-Armengol, Antoni


    (Department of Economics)

  • Zenou, Yves


    (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

Criminals are embedded in a network of relationships. Social ties among criminals are modeled by means of a graph where criminals compete for a booty and benefit from local interactions with their neighbours. Each criminal decides in a non-cooperative way how much crime effort he will exert. We show that the Nash equilibrium crime effort of each individual is proportional to his equilibrium Bonacich-centrality in the network, thus establishing a bridge to the sociology literature on social networks. We then analyze 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 his 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 Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 617.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 29 Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0617
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
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  1. 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.
  2. Lance Lochner, 2004. "Education, Work, And Crime: A Human Capital Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 811-843, 08.
  3. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
  4. Brock, William A & Durlauf, Steven N, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 235-60, April.
  5. Patrick J. Bayer & Randi Pintoff & David Emanuel Pozen, 2004. "Building Criminal Capital Behind Bars: Social Learning in Juvenile Corrections," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm418, Yale School of Management.
  6. E. Glaeser & B. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2003. "The Social Multiplier," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000130, David K. Levine.
  7. 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.
  8. Verdier, T. & Zenou, Y., 2000. "Racial Beliefs , Location and the Causes of Crime," DELTA Working Papers 2000-26, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  10. Yannis Ioannides, 2006. "Topologies of social interactions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 559-584, 08.
  11. 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.
  12. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
  14. Chien-Chieh Huang & Derek Laing & Ping Wang, 2004. "Crime And Poverty: A Search-Theoretic Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 909-938, 08.
  15. Leo Katz, 1953. "A new status index derived from sociometric analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 39-43, March.
  16. 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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