The Strength of Weak Ties in Crime

Reprint No. 2008:6

Author(s): Eleonora Patacchini and Yves ZenouYear: 2008 Title: European Economic Review Volume (No.): 52 (2) Pages: 209–236

The aim of this paper is to investigate whether weak ties play an important role in explaining criminal activities. We first develop a model where individuals learn about crime opportunities by interacting with other peers. These interactions can take the form of either strong or weak ties. We find that increasing the percentage of weak ties induces more transitions from non-crime to crime and thus the crime rate in the economy increases. This is because, when the percentage of weak ties is high, delinquents and non-delinquents are in close contact with each other. We then test these predictions using the U.S. National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (AddHealth), which contains unique detailed informations on friendship relationships among teenagers. The theoretical predictions of our model are confirmed by the empirical analysis since we find that weak ties, as measured by friends of friends, have a positive impact on criminal activities.

Patacchini, Eleonora and Yves Zenou (2008), "The Strength of Weak Ties in Crime". European Economic Review 52(2), 209–236.

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Social Capital and Health

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Martin Ljunge, IFN, is the author of a chapter, "Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants", in a new book edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg. The cutting edge of research is presented, covering the ever-expanding social capital field.

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