We exploit the 2006 Italian prison pardon to evaluate peer effects in criminal behavior. The pardon randomly commutes actual sentences to expected sentences for 40 percent of the Italian prison population. Using prison and geographical origin to construct reference groups for former inmates, we find large indirect effects of this policy. In particular, we find that the reduction in the individuals' recidivism
due to an increase in their peers' residual sentence is at least as large as their response to an increase in their own residual sentence. From this result we estimate a social multiplier in crime of two. (JEL D12, K42, Z13)
"Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification