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The HoodsCrime and Punishment in Belfast$
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Heather Hamill

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180687

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180687.001.0001

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Signaling Games

Signaling Games

(p.105) Four Signaling Games
The Hoods

Heather Hamill

Princeton University Press

This chapter attempts to get to the heart of the matter and asks why the punishment administered by the paramilitaries and/or the state does not deter these young people from further recidivism. This lack of a specific deterrent effect violates the rational norm on which deterrence is founded, that certainty and severity of punishment will prevent reoffending, and has bewildered many local people, paramilitaries, criminal justice practitioners, and politicians for some time. The explanatory model proposed in this chapter is that of a signaling game whereby hoods engage in specific behaviors to prove their toughness and status to other hoods. The model, developed from economics, game theory, and biology, explains why people engage in self-destructive behaviors in order to gain group acceptance: often the qualities they wish to display are hard to observe by others who are interested in them and can be easily mimicked by purely verbal claims.

Keywords:   toughness, signaling game, punishment, deterrence, self-destructive behaviors, group acceptance

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