Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2011:7: Criminal Networks: Who is the Key Player?

Xiaodong Liu (), Eleonora Patacchini (), Yves Zenou () and Lung-Fei Lee ()
Additional contact information
Xiaodong Liu: University of Colorado at Boulder, Postal: Department of Economics, University of Colorado at Boulder, 256 UCB, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0256, USA
Eleonora Patacchini: La Sapienza University of Rome, EIEF and CEPR., Postal: Dipartimento di Economia, Facoltà di Scienze Statistiche, Università di Roma "La Sapienza", P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
Yves Zenou: Stockholm University, Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) and GAINS, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Lung-Fei Lee: The Ohio State University, Postal: Department of Economics, The Ohio State University, 410 Arps Hall, 1945 N High Street, Columbus OH 43210, USA

Abstract: We analyze delinquent networks of adolescents in the United States. We develop a theoretical model showing who the key player is, i.e. the criminal who once removed generates the highest possible reduction in aggregate crime level. We also show that key players are not necessary the most active criminals in a network. We then test our model using data on criminal behaviors of adolescents in the United States (AddHealth data). Compared to other criminals, key players are more likely to be a male, have less educated parents, are less attached to religion and feel socially more excluded. They also feel that adults care less about them, are less attached to their school and have more troubles getting along with the teachers. We also find that, even though some criminals are not very active in criminal activities, they can be key players because they have a crucial position in the network in terms of betweenness centrality.

Keywords: Crime; bonacich centrality; betweenness centrality; network characteristics; crime policies

JEL-codes: A14; D85; K42; Z13

72 pages, February 11, 2011

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