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The Individual and Joint Performance of Economic Preferences, Personality, and Self-Control in Predicting Criminal Behavior

  • Friehe, Tim


    (University of Bonn)

  • Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah


    (University of Bonn)

We explore the individual and joint explanatory power of concepts from economics, psychology, and criminology for criminal behavior. More precisely, we consider risk and time preferences, personality traits from psychology (Big Five and locus of control), and a self-control scale from criminology. We find that economic preferences, personality traits, and self-control complement each other in predicting criminal behavior. The most significant predictors stem from all three disciplines: risk aversion, conscientiousness, and high self-control make criminal behavior less likely. Our results illustrate that integrating concepts from various disciplines enhances our understanding of individual behavior.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7894.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7894
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  1. Heckman, James J., 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5950, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Hörisch, Hannah & Strassmair, Christina, 2008. "An experimental test of the deterrence hypothesis," Discussion Papers in Economics 2139, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Working Papers 200827, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Traxler, Christian & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Survey evidence on conditional norm enforcement," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 390-398.
  8. William Harbaugh & Naci Mocan & Michael Visser, 2013. "Theft and Deterrence," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 389-407, December.
  9. Anke Becker & Thomas Deckers & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse, 2012. "The Relationship Between Economic Preferences and Psychological Personality Measures," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 453-478, 07.
  10. Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-42, October.
  11. Jean-Robert Tyran & Lars P. Feld, 2006. "Achieving Compliance when Legal Sanctions are Non-deterrent," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 135-156, 03.
  12. Friehe, Tim & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2014. "Crime and Self-Control Revisited: Disentangling the Effect of Self-Control on Risk and Social Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 8109, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2012. "The stability of big-five personality traits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 11-15.
  14. Davis, Michael L, 1988. "Time and Punishment: An Intertemporal Model of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 383-90, April.
  15. Christine Henle & Charlie Reeve & Virginia Pitts, 2010. "Stealing Time at Work: Attitudes, Social Pressure, and Perceived Control as Predictors of Time Theft," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 53-67, June.
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