Leaders in Juvenile Crime

45 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2018

See all articles by Carlos Diaz

Carlos Diaz

Universidad Católica del Uruguay

Eleonora Patacchini

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Thierry Verdier

Paris School of Economics (PSE); Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics; Stockholm University; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: August 17, 2018

Abstract

This paper presents a new theory of crime where leaders transmit a crime technology and act as a role model for other criminals. We show that, in equilibrium, an individual's crime effort and crime decisions depend on the geodesic distance to the leader in his or her network of social contacts. By using data on friendship networks among U.S. high-school students, we structurally estimate the model and find evidence supporting its predictions. In particular, by using a definition of a criminal leader that is exogenous to the network formation of friendship links, we find that the longer is the distance to the leader, the lower is the criminal activity of the delinquents and the less likely they are to become criminals. This result highlights the importance of the closeness centrality of the leaders in explaining criminal behaviors. We finally perform a counterfactual experiment that reveals that a policy that removes all criminal leaders from a school can, on average, reduce criminal activity by about 20% and the individual probability of becoming a criminal by 10%.

Keywords: crime leaders, social distance, criminal decision, closeness centrality

JEL Classification: C31, D85, K42

Suggested Citation

Diaz, Carlos and Patacchini, Eleonora and Verdier, Thierry and Zenou, Yves, Leaders in Juvenile Crime (August 17, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3233317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3233317

Carlos Diaz

Universidad Católica del Uruguay ( email )

Av 8 de Octubre
Montevideo, Montevideo
Uruguay

Eleonora Patacchini

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ( email )

Via Due Macelli, 73
Rome, 00187
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Thierry Verdier

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014
France

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics ( email )

Rua Marques de Sao Vicente, 225/206F
Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22453
Brazil

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Yves Zenou (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Australia

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI) ( email )

P.O. Box 5501
S-114 85 Stockholm
Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
40
Abstract Views
569
PlumX Metrics