Can the group disincentivize offending? Considering opt‐out thresholds and decision reversals* Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractScholars generally agree that offending decisions occur in social context, with some suggesting that choice models should explicitly integrate the notion that the deviant actions of others can incentivize offending. In this study, we investigate whether group settings can also disincentivize deviant action via reverse bandwagon effects, where individuals reverse their offending decision and express an intention to opt out of the criminal act. Based on survey data from three universities using hypothetical scenarios about theft and fighting, we find evidence of opt‐out thresholds. Our findings indicate that deviant groups can serve as both an incentive and a disincentive, and that the relationship between group size and the perceived utility of crime is more complicated than prior work has suggested. Moreover, we find that these self‐reported opt‐out thresholds vary across scenarios, indicating that socially interdependent decision‐making processes may be situation specific. In the end, the study underscores the importance of acknowledging the social context in offending decisions and highlights that group effects may be more complex and nuanced than previously discussed.

publication date

  • November 1, 2021

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • January 30, 2022 6:59 AM

Full Author List

  • McGloin JM; Thomas KJ; Rowan ZR; Deitzer JR

author count

  • 4

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0011-1384

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1745-9125

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 738

end page

  • 765


  • 59


  • 4