References (24)



The Market for Mules: Risk and Compensation of Cross-Border Drug Couriers

Caleb E. Mason

Brown White & Osborn LLP

David Bjerk

Claremont Colleges - Claremont McKenna College; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

July 7, 2011

This paper uses a unique dataset collected directly from the probable cause narratives filed by federal agents in arrests of individuals caught smuggling drugs though the U.S.-Mexico border to shed light on the cross-border smuggling of drugs from Mexico into the United States. In addition to describing the characteristics of the loads being smuggled into the U.S., we analyze the pay apprehended mules report for attempting to carry their loads across the border to determine whether market forces create a wage premium for differential sentencing risk. Our results reveal that while there is a good deal of unexplained variation in compensation, mules generally appear to be paid compensating wage differentials for loads that carry a higher sentencing risk if detected and for loads that carry an arguably higher likelihood of detection. Our data also reveal that compensation does not appear to be strongly tied to other characteristics of the mule such as gender or citizenship.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: drug trafficking

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: July 9, 2011 ; Last revised: August 14, 2012

Suggested Citation

Mason, Caleb E. and Bjerk, David, The Market for Mules: Risk and Compensation of Cross-Border Drug Couriers (July 7, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1881212 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1881212

Contact Information

Caleb E. Mason (Contact Author)
Brown White & Osborn LLP ( email )
333 S. Hope St.
40th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
United States
2134062949 (Phone)
2134062949 (Fax)
David Bjerk
Claremont Colleges - Claremont McKenna College ( email )
500 E. Ninth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States
IZA Institute of Labor Economics
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 747
Downloads: 120
Download Rank: 174,637
References:  24