Impatient, risk-tolerant people more often become criminals, says study

new Delhi: Does a person’s level of tolerance affect their willingness to commit crimes against the people and circumstances around them? A recent study has suggested so.

The study, titled ‘Preferences predict who commits crime among young men’, was published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’. There is a widespread belief that some people have stronger social and financial incentives than others to commit crimes. However, even people facing similar incentives may make different choices because they have different preferences. This means that they weighed the costs and benefits of taking criminal action differently.
In general, however, there is a lack of knowledge about the role of people’s preferences in relation to the risk of committing a crime. Therefore, researchers from the Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality at the University of Copenhagen tested the notion that character traits such as risk tolerance and impatience are more prevalent in criminals.

“In addition to looking at the importance of cognitive skills and socio-economic background, we have also examined a number of individual preferences in relation to criminal behavior. And we can clearly see that some preferences play an important role,” said Professor Klaus Thstrup. Said Crainer.

According to the researchers, willingness to take risks was a key characteristic of many criminals.
Klaus Thustrup Kraner emphasized, “The propensity to commit a crime is twice as high for the most risk-tolerant individuals as for the least risk-tolerant individuals.”

The importance of an individual’s willingness to take risks in predicting criminal behavior corresponds to half the importance of cognitive abilities, the strongest predictor of propensity to commit crimes.
“If we look at the different types of crimes, the willingness to take risks is particularly relevant when it comes to predicting property crimes such as theft. If we are talking about violent, drug or sex crimes , so self-control problems are common in individuals,” explained Klaus Thustrup Kraner.

The study included data from economic experiments, where more than 7,000 young Danish men were invited to participate on an online forum.

Participants received an average payout of approximately DKK250 for participating, but the amount depended, among other things, on their patience in the experiment and willingness to take risks with the potential for a large profit. The study was in line with other economic studies that have examined the importance of preferences for differences in people’s economic outcomes. Data from experiments were anonymized and linked to administrative data, which, in addition to describing participants’ socioeconomic conditions, also included information about crime.
Klaus Thustrup Kraner explained, “We chose to focus on crime among young people aged 15–20 years because this is a group where a lot more crimes are committed than other men and women in general.”

The combination of experimental and administrative data also gave Klaus Thustrup Kraner and other researchers a unique set of control variables.

“We collected information such as school performance, residential area, immigration status, family size, birth order, parents’ socioeconomic status, parental criminal activity and stress factors such as parental divorce or unemployment,” he said. of it.”

One of the main functions of the criminal justice system is to prevent people from committing crimes. The new research results implied that it is actually the people who are most likely to commit crimes who respond least to increased enforcement and harsher sentences. The risk of future punishment has little deterrent effect on a person who is impatient and willing to take the risk.

“Our study may help explain why there is limited empirical evidence that increasing punishment works to reduce crime,” said Klaus Thustrup Kraner.

The inadequate effect of punishment highlights the importance of work on crime prevention. Here, Klaus Thustrup Krainer also believes that his results are relevant.

He elaborates, “Our study clearly shows that preferences such as risk tolerance, impatience and altruism predict propensity to commit crimes. Other research suggests that it is possible to influence these behavioral parameters in children and young people.” , which can be very important in relation to the development of criminal behavior.” (ANI)

First published:February 22, 2022, 10:30 pm

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