2006–2010

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.


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

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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