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

  • Leandro Siqueira Carvalho

    ()

    (RAND Corporation)

  • Rodrigo R. Soares

    ()

    (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)

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.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil) in its series Textos para discussão with number 605.

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Length: 37p
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:605
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  1. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie & Sunčica Vujić, 2011. "The Crime Reducing Effect of Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 463-484, 05.
  2. Lance Lochner, 2010. "Education Policy and Crime," NBER Working Papers 15894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lancaster, Tony & Imbens, Guido, 1996. "Case-control studies with contaminated controls," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1-2), pages 145-160.
  4. Christopher Blattman, 2006. "The Consequences of Child Soldiering," HiCN Working Papers 22, Households in Conflict Network.
  5. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2006. "The welfare cost of violence across countries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 821-846, September.
  7. Daniel R.C. Cerqueira & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2012. "The Welfare Cost of Homicides in Brazil: Accounting for Heterogeneity in the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Reductions," Textos para discussão 600, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  8. Peter T. Leeson, 2007. "An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1049-1094, December.
  9. David J. Deming, 2011. "Better Schools, Less Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 2063-2115.
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