A new paper by Leandro Carvalho and Rodrigo R. Soares analyzes the members of drug-trafficking gangs in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The paper shows that individuals from lower socioeconomic background and with no religious affiliation show a higher probability of joining a gang. Students that have problems at school and take drugs at early ages join gangs at younger ages. Wages within the gang do not depend on education, but on seniority. Moreover, the more violent a member is, the better he is paid. The authors also look at the risk of death: Each additional experience of gun fight is associated with an increase of 2 percentage points in the probability of death in the following two years. Individuals with personality traits associated with aggressiveness and lack of control are also more likely to die.
Who joins a drug-selling gang?
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7189 Living on the Edge: Youth Entry, Career and Exit in Drug-Selling Gangs
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