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The Dynamics of Neighbourhood Watch and Norm Enforcement


Huck, Steffen; Kosfeld, Michael (2004). The Dynamics of Neighbourhood Watch and Norm Enforcement. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 199, University of Zurich.

Abstract

"We analyze the dynamics of neighbourhood watch programs in a local interaction framework. Agents can watch their neighbours' houses and thus deter burglars from breaking in.nAt the same time, agents also try to recruit their neighbours to join the neighbourhood watchnprogram. The probability of an agent joining the neighbourhood watch program depends on the success of the program, i.e., whether burglaries continue to occur. We show that the punishment of burglars plays a dual role in this context. On the one hand, punishmentndeters burglaries if the level of punishment is sufficiently high. On the other hand, it alsonaffects the probability of an agent joining the neighbourhood watch program. In particular,nwe show that if recruitment is harder when burglaries do not occur, a legal policy attemptingnto improve deterrence using more severe punishment is suboptimal. In a second part, we extend our model to the study of norm enforcement in public goods dilemmas and show that our results remain valid if agents can punish each other (instead of burglars) for not contributing to the public good. Our paper thus provides a first analysis of the evolution of ""altruistic punishment"" in large populations with local interaction."

Abstract

"We analyze the dynamics of neighbourhood watch programs in a local interaction framework. Agents can watch their neighbours' houses and thus deter burglars from breaking in.nAt the same time, agents also try to recruit their neighbours to join the neighbourhood watchnprogram. The probability of an agent joining the neighbourhood watch program depends on the success of the program, i.e., whether burglaries continue to occur. We show that the punishment of burglars plays a dual role in this context. On the one hand, punishmentndeters burglaries if the level of punishment is sufficiently high. On the other hand, it alsonaffects the probability of an agent joining the neighbourhood watch program. In particular,nwe show that if recruitment is harder when burglaries do not occur, a legal policy attemptingnto improve deterrence using more severe punishment is suboptimal. In a second part, we extend our model to the study of norm enforcement in public goods dilemmas and show that our results remain valid if agents can punish each other (instead of burglars) for not contributing to the public good. Our paper thus provides a first analysis of the evolution of ""altruistic punishment"" in large populations with local interaction."

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:August 2004
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 22:32
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 15:36
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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