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Stigma and Social Control

  • Lawrence E. Blume

    (Cornell University)

Social interactions provide a set of incentives for regulating individual behavior. Chief among these is stigma, the status loss and discrimination that results from the display of stigmatized attributes or behaviors. The stigmatization of behavior is the enforcement mechanism behind social norms. This paper models the incentive effects of stigmatization in the context of undertaking criminal acts. Stigma is a flow cost of uncertain duration which varies negatively with the number of stigmatized individuals. Criminal opportunities arrive randomly and an equilibrium model describes the conditions under which each individual chooses the behavior that, if detected, is stigmatized. The comparative static analysis of stigma costs differs from that of conventional penalties. One surprising result with important policy implications is that stigma costs of long duration will lead to increased crime rates.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/game/papers/0312/0312002.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0312002.

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Date of creation: 08 Dec 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0312002
Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on linux: TeX, dvips, ps2pdf;
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Zhou Lin, 1994. "The Set of Nash Equilibria of a Supermodular Game Is a Complete Lattice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 295-300, September.
  2. Lawrence E. Blume, 1995. "Evolutionary Equilibrium with Forward-Looking Players," Game Theory and Information 9509001, EconWPA.
  3. Akihiko Matsui & Kiminori Matsuyama, 1990. "An Approach to Equilibrium Selection," Discussion Papers 970, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. M. Kandori & G. Mailath & R. Rob, 1999. "Learning, Mutation and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 500, David K. Levine.
  5. Blume Lawrence E., 1993. "The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 387-424, July.
  6. Frank A. Cowell, 1990. "Cheating the Government: The Economics of Evasion," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262532484, June.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  8. Blume,L. & Durlauf,S., 2002. "Equilibrium concepts for social interaction models," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  9. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
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