The Benefits of Low Self-Control

Carlo Morselli, Universite de Montreal
Pierre Tremblay, Universite de Montreal
Julie-Soliel Meeson, Universite de Montreal

In this paper, a critical yet expansive interpretation of Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory of low self-control is provided. Two questions guide the general framework: 2) to what point do some of the basic components of self-control theory (risk-taking and opportunism) serve not only as key indicators of an individual's criminal propensity, but also as principal features in understanding the beneficial outcomes of crime? and 2) what structuring properties condition the relationship between these individual features and criminal outcomes? In pursuing these inter-related inquiries, the study pursues the growing research on criminal earnings and combines the merits of self-control theory and social network approaches to entrepreneurial behaviour in accounting for avariations in criminal gains amonst a subpopulation of incarcerated offenders. Results show that even when controlling for various background factors (age, legitimate income, and type of criminal activity), behaviour that is typical of low-self control and a working structure promoting network autonomy lead to increased financial benefits for offenders.

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Updated 05/20/2006