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Key Players in Co-Offending Networks

  • Lindquist, Matthew J.

    ()

    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

  • Zenou, Yves

    ()

    (Stockholm University)

We study peer effects in crime by analyzing co-offending networks. We first provide a credible estimate of peer effects in these networks equal to 0.17. This estimate implies a social multiplier of 1.2 for those individuals linked to only one co-offender and a social multiplier of 2 for those linked to three co-offenders. We then provide one of the first empirical tests of the key player policy in a real world setting. This policy defines a micro-founded strategy for removing the criminal from each network that reduces total crime by the largest amount. Using longitudinal data, we are able to compare the theoretical predictions of the key player policy with real world outcomes. By focusing on networks for which the key player has disappeared over time, we show that the theoretical predicted crime reduction is close to what is observed in the real world. We also show that the key player policy outperforms other reasonable police policies such as targeting the most active criminals or targeting criminals who have the highest betweenness or eigenvector centrality in the network. This indicates that behavioral-based policies can be more efficient in reducing crime than those based on algorithms that have no micro-foundation.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8012.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8012
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  1. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2009. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 257-280, 04.
  2. Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Guido W. Imbens, 2013. "Social Networks and the Identification of Peer Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 253-264, July.
  3. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 87-130, January.
  4. Xiaodong Liu & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou & Lung-Fei Lee, 2012. "Criminal Networks: Who is the Key Player?," Working Papers 2012.39, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," Working Papers 178, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Holmlund, Helena & Lindquist, Matthew, 2011. "The Effect of Education on Criminal Convictions and Incarceration: Causal Evidence from Micro-data," CEPR Discussion Papers 8646, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  8. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati, 2012. "Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 199-218, April.
  9. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco van der Leij & José Luis Moraga-Gonzàlez, 2004. "Economics: An Emerging Small World?," Working Papers 2004.84, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. 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, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 655-679, May.
  11. Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2010. "Juvenile Delinquency and Conformism," Working Papers 2010.59, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  12. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Social Networks And Crime Decisions: The Role Of Social Structure In Facilitating Delinquent Behavior," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 939-958, 08.
  13. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2007. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections," NBER Working Papers 12932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David Card & Laura Giuliano, 2011. "Peer Effects and Multiple Equilibria in the Risky Behavior of Friends," NBER Working Papers 17088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David R. Hunter & Mark S. Handcock & Carter T. Butts & Steven M. Goodreau & Martina Morris, . "ergm: A Package to Fit, Simulate and Diagnose Exponential-Family Models for Networks," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 24(i03).
  17. Lung-fei Lee & Xiaodong Liu & Xu Lin, 2010. "Specification and estimation of social interaction models with network structures," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 13(2), pages 145-176, 07.
  18. Leo Katz, 1953. "A new status index derived from sociometric analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 39-43, March.
  19. Mastrobuoni Giovanni & Patacchini Eleonora, 2012. "Organized Crime Networks: an Application of Network Analysis Techniques to the American Mafia," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-43, September.
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