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First Impressions are More Important than Early Intervention Qualifying Broken Windows Theory in the Lab

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Beckenkamp
  • Christoph Engel

    () (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods)

  • Andreas Glöckner
  • Bernd Irlenbusch
  • Heike Hennig-Schmidt
  • Sebastian Kube
  • Michael Kurschilgen
  • Alexander Morell
  • Andreas Nicklisch
  • Hans-Theo Normann
  • Emanuel Towfigh

Abstract

Broken Windows: the metaphor has changed New York and Los Angeles. Yet it is far from undisputed whether the broken windows policy was causal for reducing crime. In a series of lab experiments we put two components of the theory to the test. We show that first impressions and early punishment of antisocial behaviour are independently and jointly causal for cooperativeness. The effect of good first impressions and of early vigilance cannot be explained with, but adds to, participants’ initial level of benevolence. Mere impression management is not strong enough to maintain cooperation. Cooperation stabilizes if good first impressions are combined with some risk of sanctions. Yet if we control for first impressions, early vigilance only has a small effect. The effect vanishes over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Beckenkamp & Christoph Engel & Andreas Glöckner & Bernd Irlenbusch & Heike Hennig-Schmidt & Sebastian Kube & Michael Kurschilgen & Alexander Morell & Andreas Nicklisch & Hans-Theo Normann & Ema, 2009. "First Impressions are More Important than Early Intervention Qualifying Broken Windows Theory in the Lab," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2009_21, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jan 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2009_21
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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Luis Camilo Ortigueira-Sánchez, 2017. "Influencing factors on citizen safety perception: systems and broken windows theories," International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing, Springer;International Association of Public and Non-Profit Marketing, pages 95-111.
    3. Lorelei Schmitt & Graham Currie & Alexa Delbosc, 2015. "Lost in transit? Unfamiliar public transport travel explored using a journey planner web survey," Transportation, Springer, pages 101-122.
    4. Dimant, Eugen, 2015. "On Peer Effects: Behavioral Contagion of (Un)Ethical Behavior and the Role of Social Identity," MPRA Paper 68732, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Theodore Eisenberg & Christoph Engel, 2012. "Assuring Adequate Deterrence in Tort: A Public Good Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

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