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Living on the Edge: Youth Entry, Career and Exit in Drug-Selling Gangs

Author

Listed:
  • Carvalho, Leandro

    () (RAND)

  • Soares, Rodrigo R.

    () (Columbia University)

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 wage 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. Wages 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 & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2013. "Living on the Edge: Youth Entry, Career and Exit in Drug-Selling Gangs," IZA Discussion Papers 7189, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7189
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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. repec:esx:essedp:763 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; youth; gangs; drugs; trafficking; Brazil;

    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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