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Living on the edge: Youth entry, career and exit in drug-selling gangs

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  • Carvalho, Leandro S.
  • Soares, Rodrigo R.

Abstract

We use data from a unique survey of members of drug-trafficking gangs in favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to characterize drug-trafficking jobs and study the selection into gangs, analyzing what distinguishes gang-members from other youth living in favelas. We also estimate earnings regressions for gang-members and examine their career path: age at entry, progression within the gangs’ hierarchy, and short- to medium-term outcomes. Individuals from lower socioeconomic background and with no religious affiliation have higher probability of joining a gang, while those with problems at school and early use of drugs join the gang at younger ages. Earnings within the gang do not depend on education, but are increasing with experience and involvement in gang-related violence. The two-year mortality rate in the sample of gang-members reaches 20%, with the probability of death increasing with initial involvement in gang violence and with personality traits associated with unruliness.

Suggested Citation

  • Carvalho, Leandro S. & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2016. "Living on the edge: Youth entry, career and exit in drug-selling gangs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 77-98.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:121:y:2016:i:c:p:77-98
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.10.018
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Vidas al límite en Río de Janeiro
      by Omar García-Ponce in Politikon on 2014-06-24 14:11:29

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    Cited by:

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    2. Francesco Calderoni & Tommaso Comunale & Gian Maria Campedelli & Martina Marchesi & Deborah Manzi & Niccolò Frualdo, 2022. "Organized crime groups: A systematic review of individual‐level risk factors related to recruitment," Campbell Systematic Reviews, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 18(1), March.
    3. Carla Calero & Sandra V. Rozo, 2016. "The effects of youth training on risk behavior: the role of non-cognitive skills," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, December.
    4. Sung Jae Jun & Sokbae Lee, 2020. "Causal Inference under Outcome-Based Sampling with Monotonicity Assumptions," Papers 2004.08318, arXiv.org, revised Nov 2021.
    5. Kırdar, Murat G. & López Cruz, Ivan & Türküm, Betül, 2022. "The effect of 3.6 million refugees on crime," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 568-582.
    6. Blattman, Christopher & Lessing, Benjamin & Tobon, Santiago & Duncan, Gustavo, 2021. "Gang rule: Understanding and Countering Criminal Governance," SocArXiv 5nyqs, Center for Open Science.
    7. Sanfelice, Viviane, 2019. "Are safe routes effective? Assessing the effects of Chicago’s Safe Passage program on local crimes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 357-373.
    8. Sung Jae Jun & Sokbae (Simon) Lee, 2020. "Causal inference in case-control studies," CeMMAP working papers CWP19/20, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    9. Maria Micaela Sviatschi, 2019. "Making a Narco: Childhood Exposure to Illegal Labor Markets and Criminal Life Paths," Working Papers 2019-28, Princeton University. Economics Department..
    10. Campaniello, Nadia & Gray, Rowena & Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2016. "Returns to education in criminal organizations: Did going to college help Michael Corleone?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 242-258.
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    12. Campaniello, N & Gray, R & Mastrobuoni, G, 2015. "Returns to Education and Experience in Criminal Organizations: Evidence from the Italian-American Mafia," Economics Discussion Papers 13795, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Youth; Gangs; Drug-Trafficking; Criminal career; Brazil;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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