The role of workplace offending in the relationship between work and crime: Testing the traditional, displacement, emboldenment and continuity hypotheses

Soc Sci Res. 2022 Aug;106:102722. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2022.102722. Epub 2022 Mar 15.


Research evaluating the relationship between work and crime has paid little attention to behavior in the workplace. We evaluate four hypotheses regarding the work-crime relationship: (1) Employment and crime are negatively related, (2) Employment displaces offending from the street to the workplace, (3) Work offending emboldens street offending, and (4) Work offending has no association with street offending. Drawing on longitudinal data from a high-risk sample of young adults from The Pathways to Desistance study, we use hybrid fixed effects models with measures of street property offending and workplace property offending to test the hypotheses. Our findings indicate a positive association between work property offending and street property offending with the inclusion of fixed effects. Findings also provide evidence that job quality moderates this relationship. We elaborate on the role of workplace behavior in the broader work-crime relationship and explore the mechanisms underlying the associations we identify.

Keywords: Employment; Rational choice; Social control; Workplace crime.

MeSH terms

  • Crime*
  • Humans
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • Workplace*
  • Young Adult