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NCJ Number: 164882 Find in a Library
Title: Crime as Strategy: Testing an Evolutionary Ecological Theory of Expropriative Crime
Journal: American Journal of Sociology  Volume:98  Issue:4  Dated:(January 1993)  Pages:873-912
Author(s): B J Vila; L E Cohen
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 40
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A theory of expropriative crime is described and tested using two complementary approaches, one involving a game-theoretic model and the other involving computer simulation experiments to test the model's implications and consistency with novel hypotheses suggested by the theory.
Abstract: The theory is a refined specification of Cohen and Machalek's general evolutionary ecological theory of expropriative crime. Unlike many theories that characterize criminal behavior as pathological or abnormal, this theory argues that expropriative crimes are best regarded as behavioral strategies typically used by normal individuals in normal social systems to meet their needs. This approach is unique among criminological theories because it focuses on the evolution of behavioral strategies that arise and spread through populations by means of culturally mediated processes. The theory was tested using two approaches: (1) the development of a game-theoretic model that mathematically tests the logical adequacy of the theory's basic assumptions and (2) the conduct of computer simulation experiments to analyze the model's implications. Mathematical analysis indicated that the assumptions are logically consistent. Experiments generally confirmed the theory's hypotheses, but indicated that several modifications are necessary. Figures, footnotes, and 36 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Computer simulation; Crime causes theory; Mathematical modeling
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