Status Concerns as a Motive for Crime?

36 Pages Posted: 8 May 2013  

Florian Baumann

University of Mainz - Department of Economic Theory

Tim Friehe

University of Konstanz - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 30, 2013

Abstract

This paper analyzes the implications of potential offenders caring about their relative status. We establish that subjects' status concerns can result in multiple-equilibrium crime rates and may modify the standard comparative-statics results regarding how the crime rate changes in response to a higher detection probability and higher sanctions. In addition, we argue that the socially optimal level of the detection probability and the sanction will often be higher when potential offenders care about their relative positions. Our analysis can be linked to one of the most important criminological theories of crime, namely strain theory.

Keywords: crime, status, deterrence, multiple equilibria, strain theory

JEL Classification: H230, K420

Suggested Citation

Baumann, Florian and Friehe, Tim, Status Concerns as a Motive for Crime? (April 30, 2013). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4225. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2261670

Florian Baumann

University of Mainz - Department of Economic Theory ( email )

D 55099 Mainz
Germany

Tim Friehe (Contact Author)

University of Konstanz - Department of Economics ( email )

Konstanz, D-78457
Germany

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