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

37 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2013

See all articles by Leandro Carvalho

Leandro Carvalho

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR); University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Rodrigo R. Soares

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA); Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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.

Keywords: crime, youth, gangs, drugs, trafficking, Brazil

JEL Classification: J4, K42, O15, O17

Suggested Citation

Carvalho, Leandro and Soares, Rodrigo R., Living on the Edge: Youth Entry, Career and Exit in Drug-Selling Gangs. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7189, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2210849

Leandro Carvalho (Contact Author)

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

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University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

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Rodrigo R. Soares

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

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Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

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Brazil

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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