Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

The Dynamics of Neighbourhood Watch and Norm Enforcement

Huck, Steffen
Volume: 117
Number: 516
Pages: 270 - 286
Month: January
ISSN-Print: 0013-0133
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2007
Keywords: Equilibrium selection; Coordination game; Evolution; Strategy adjustment
Abstract: We propose a dynamic model of neighbourhood watch schemes. While the state chooses punishment levels, apprehension of criminals depends on the watchfulness of citizens. We show that, contrary to standard intuition, crime levels can increase in punishments. This is because neighbourhood watch schemes can fall victim to their own success if recruitment of new members is driven by fear of crime – a finding that is in line with the empirical literature. We discuss the policy implications of this result and show how it extends to the more general problem of norm enforcement among interacting citizens.