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http://ssrn.com/abstract=986363
 
 

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Youth Gangs as Pseudo-Governments: Implications for Violent Crime


Russell S. Sobel


The Citadel - School of Business Administration

Brian J. Osoba


University of Texas at El Paso

November 15, 2006


Abstract:     
We hypothesize the failure of government to protect the rights of individuals from violence committed by youths has led to the formation of youth gangs as protective agencies. Our theory predicts an opposite direction of causality between gang activity and violent crime than is widely accepted. While areas with more gang activity also have more violence, our theory suggests gangs form as protection agencies precisely in areas with high violent crime rates. While gangs, like governments, use violence to enforce rules, the net impact of gangs is to lower violent crime. We test this hypothesis and offer significant policy implications.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: gangs, violence, government failure, youth, violent crime

JEL Classification: D74, H11, K42

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Date posted: May 16, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Sobel, Russell S. and Osoba, Brian J., Youth Gangs as Pseudo-Governments: Implications for Violent Crime (November 15, 2006). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=986363 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.986363

Contact Information

Russell S. Sobel (Contact Author)
The Citadel - School of Business Administration ( email )
Charleston, SC 29409
United States
Brian J. Osoba
University of Texas at El Paso ( email )
500 West University
El Paso, TX TX 79968-0545
United States
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