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Underground Gun Markets

  • Philip J. Cook
  • Jens Ludwig
  • Sudhir Venkatesh
  • Anthony A. Braga

This paper provides an economic analysis of underground gun markets drawing on interviews with gang members, gun dealers, professional thieves, prostitutes, police, public school security guards and teens in the city of Chicago, complemented by results from government surveys of recent arrestees in 22 cities plus administrative data for suicides, homicides, robberies, arrests and confiscated crime guns. We find evidence of considerable frictions in the underground market for guns in Chicago. We argue that these frictions are due primarily to the fact that the underground gun market is both illegal and %u201Cthin%u201D -- the number of buyers, sellers and total transactions is small and relevant information is scarce. Gangs can help overcome these market frictions, but the gang%u2019s economic interests cause gang leaders to limit supply primarily to gang members, and even then transactions are usually loans or rentals with strings attached.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11737.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11737.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Publication status: published as Cook, P. J., J. Ludwig, S.A. Venkatesh, and A.A. Braga. "Underground gun markets." Economic Journal 117 (November, 2007).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11737
Note: CH HE LE
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  1. Anne Morrison Piehl & Suzanne J. Cooper & Anthony A. Braga & David M. Kennedy, 2003. "Testing for Structural Breaks in the Evaluation of Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 550-558, August.
  2. Qinghua Zhang & Li Gan, 2004. "The thick market effect of local unemployment rate fluctuation," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 179, Econometric Society.
  3. Li Gan & Qi Li, 2004. "Efficiency of Thin and Thick Markets," NBER Working Papers 10815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Roland G. Fryer & Paul S. Heaton & Steven D. Levitt & Kevin M. Murphy, 2005. "Measuring the Impact of Crack Cocaine," NBER Working Papers 11318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
  6. Donohue John, 2004. "Clinton and Bush's Report Cards on Crime Reduction: The Data Show Bush Policies Are Undermining Clinton Gains," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-10, September.
  7. Mark Duggan, 2001. "More Guns, More Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1086-1114, October.
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