Paper on Crime Causation: An Experimental Test of Situational Action Theory

According to situational action theory, the decision to commit a crime is made through a two-stage, perception and choice process. Our latest publication explores this process through a Germany-wide vignette study, in which each vignette experimentally varied the informal moral context, deterrence (sanctions and detection risk), and possible gains of selling prescription drugs illegally. The results of the double-hurdle model show that personal morality serves as a filter for the perception of criminal alternatives. Willingness to commit a crime was lowered by law-conforming moral context information, high self-control, and deterrence. [Link to the paper]