This paper examines the hypothesis that violent crime causes gang membership. I construct a theoretical model of the individual’s decision to join a gang based on the protection that gang membership provides from violent crime. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort and a probit specification, I test three different measures of the threat of violent crime: a dummy variable for experiencing gun violence, a dummy variable for being the victim of repeated bullying, and a dummy variable for being the victim of a violent crime. In my regressions, I find support for the hypothesis that violent crime causes gang membership. Each measure of violent crime is positive and highly statistically significant across all of my regression specifications.
Hottman, Colin, "Does Violent Crime Cause Individuals To Join Gangs?" (2009). Economics Honors Projects. 18.
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