You are here: Home / People / Bill McCarthy / Publications / Uncertainty, Cooperation, and Crime: Understanding the Decision to Co-Offend

Bill McCarthy, John Hagan, and Lawrence E Cohen (1998)

Uncertainty, Cooperation, and Crime: Understanding the Decision to Co-Offend

Social Forces, 77(1):155--184.

A substantial body of research suggests that, in spite of the risks associated with co-offending, offenders frequently choose to work together. Dominant theories of crime, as well as those of decision making in general (eg, game theory), typically assume that people's choices are based on instrumentally rational calculations; however, research on decision making highlights limitations of this assumption for understanding decisions to cooperate in both noncriminal & criminal activities. Here, social dilemma theories & James Coleman's (1990) treatise on collective action are drawn on to explore the motivation to cooperate, arguing that challenges of everyday adversity & contacts with potential co-offenders may increase people's willingness to trust others & co-offend. Multivariate analyses of 1992 self-report questionnaire & interview data from a two-wave panel of 376 street youths in Toronto, Ontario, & Vancouver, British Columbia, reveal that, of the various cooperative styles examined, a form called collaboration is most important in facilitating crime. 5 Tables, 1 Figure, 1 Appendix, 73 References. Adapted from the source document.

*Criminality, *Trust, Vancouver, British Columbia, *Decision Making, Toronto, Ontario, Certainty, *Participation, Juvenile Delinquency, *Offenders, *Crime, Youth, *Cooperation, article, 2147: social problems and social welfare; sociology of crime
SubjectsTermNotLitGenreText - *Cooperation; *Crime; *Offenders; *Trust; *Criminality; *Decision Making; *Participation; Certainty; Youth; Juvenile Delinquency; Toronto, Ontario; Vancouver, British Columbia

Document Actions

You are Here
Sociology

1283 Social Sciences & 
Humanities 
University of California, 
Davis 
One Shields Avenue 
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 752-0782 phone
(530) 752-0783 fax

Map and Additional Contact Information

Make a Gift

Giving matters at UC Davis. For more than a century, donors have been helping the university address the issues that matter most to California, the nation and the world.  The Department of Sociology is dedicated to achieving excellence. Your gift can help.

Make a gift