A New Look at Neighborhood-Level Informal Social Control: Solving Social Dilemmas of Achieving Public Order

Shaohua Yu, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

Investigation of informal social control occupies a central position in the field of neighborhood-level crime research within social disorganization tradition. The present study revisits this issue by bridging it with another important area of research – study on social dilemmas that explains prosocial or collective behavior in human groups. By defining informal social control as one form of collectively desirable action, the study tested the hypothesis that solutions to social dilemmas developed by game theorists for achieving cooperation would also increase neighborhood-level informal social control. The examination of multilevel data found that most of the hypothesized factors (i.e. reciprocity, low cost to cooperation, intimacy, communication, and expectation) directly or indirectly facilitate residents’ willingness to participate in informal social control behavior, and therefore, the study validates the application of social dilemma perspective to the study of neighborhood-level informal social control.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 5