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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. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto & Vertova, Pietro, 2007. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. Ballester, Coralio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Who’s Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," CEPR Discussion Papers 5329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Liu, Xiaodong & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves & Lee, Lung-Fei, 2011. "Criminal Networks: Who is the Key Player?," Research Papers in Economics 2011:7, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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  11. Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2012. "Juvenile Delinquency and Conformism," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-31.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2004. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  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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