Hanging Out With the Usual Suspects: Neighborhood Peer Effects and Recidivism

47 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2018

See all articles by Stephen B. Billings

Stephen B. Billings

University of Colorado - Boulder

Kevin Schnepel

The University of Sydney; IZA

Date Written: June 24, 2017


Social interactions within neighborhoods, schools and detention facilities are important determinants of criminal behavior. However, little is known about the degree to which neighborhood peers affect successful community re-entry following incarceration. This paper measures the influence of pre-incarceration social networks on recidivism by exploiting the fact that peers may be locked up when a prisoner returns home. Using detailed arrest and incarceration data that includes residential addresses for offenders, we find consistent and robust evidence that a former inmate is less likely to reoffend if more of his peers are held captive while he reintegrates into society.

Keywords: Crime, Recidivism, Peer Effects, Social Spillovers, Social Interaction

JEL Classification: C31, J10, K42, Z13

Suggested Citation

Billings, Stephen B. and Schnepel, Kevin, Hanging Out With the Usual Suspects: Neighborhood Peer Effects and Recidivism (June 24, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3144020 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3144020

Stephen B. Billings (Contact Author)

University of Colorado - Boulder ( email )

Leeds School of Business
Koelbel Building
Boulder, CO US 80309
United States

Kevin Schnepel

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

IZA ( email )

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