Are Gangs a Substitute for Legitimate Employment? Investigating the Impact of Labor Market Effects on Gang Affiliation

19 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2009

See all articles by Alan Seals

Alan Seals

Auburn University - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper adds to the literature estimates of local labor market effects on gang participation. The local unemployment rate is a proxy for the availability of legitimate employment. I use data from the 1997 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97) to model the probability of gang involvement. The effect of the local unemployment rate is statistically significant and positive. Robustness checks reveal gang participation of individuals less than sixteen years of age (the legal minimum age for most jobs) is not responsive to the local unemployment rate. However, the effect of the local unemployment rate on sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds is statistically significant and positive, which suggests juvenile gang participation depends on economic incentives. Gang participation among individuals with lower ASVAB scores is more sensitive to the local unemployment rate.

Suggested Citation

Seals, Richard A, Are Gangs a Substitute for Legitimate Employment? Investigating the Impact of Labor Market Effects on Gang Affiliation. Kyklos, Vol. 62, Issue 3, pp. 407-425, August 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1432262 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6435.2009.00443.x

Richard A Seals (Contact Author)

Auburn University - Department of Economics ( email )

0326 Haley Center
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