IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/qjecon/v115y2000i3p755-789..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

An Economic Analysis of a Drug-Selling Gang's Finances

Author

Listed:
  • Steven D. Levitt
  • Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh

Abstract

We use a unique data set detailing the financial activities of a drug-selling street gang to analyze gang economics. On average, earnings in the gang are somewhat above the legitimate labor market alternative. The enormous risks of drug selling, however, more than offset this small wage premium. Compensation within the gang is highly skewed, and the prospect of future riches, not current wages, is the primary economic motivation. The gang engages in repeated gang wars and sometimes prices below marginal cost. Our results suggest that economic factors alone are unlikely to adequately explain individual participation in the gang or gang behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven D. Levitt & Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, 2000. "An Economic Analysis of a Drug-Selling Gang's Finances," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 755-789.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:755-789.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355300554908
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Michael, Steven C. & Moore, Hollie J., 1995. "Returns to franchising," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 2(1-2), pages 133-155, October.
    3. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-955.
    4. Paul Klemperer, 1995. "Competition when Consumers have Switching Costs: An Overview with Applications to Industrial Organization, Macroeconomics, and International Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 515-539.
    5. Lott, John R, Jr, 1992. "An Attempt at Measuring the Total Monetary Penalty from Drug Convictions: The Importance of an Individual's Reputation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 159-187, January.
    6. Nagin, Daniel & Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The effects of criminality and conviction on the labor market status of young British offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 109-126, January.
    7. Grogger, Jeffrey, 1991. "Certainty vs. Severity of Punishment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 297-309, April.
    8. Glenn Ellison, 1994. "Theories of Cartel Stability and the Joint Executive Committee," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 37-57, Spring.
    9. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:755-789.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.