Document Type

Honors Project

Abstract

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.

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Economics Commons

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