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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. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto, 2010. "Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behaviour: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  10. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Social Networks and Crime Decisions: The Role of Social Structure in Facilitating Delinquent Behavior," Working Paper Series 601, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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  12. Lee, Lung-Fei & Liu, Xiaodong & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2012. "Criminal Networks: Who is the Key Player?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8772, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. David Card & Laura Giuliano, 2013. "Peer Effects and Multiple Equilibria in the Risky Behavior of Friends," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1130-1149, October.
  15. 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).
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Leo Katz, 1953. "A new status index derived from sociometric analysis," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 39-43, March.
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