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Dealers, Thieves, and the Common Determinants of Drug and Nondrug Illegal Earnings

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 50 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2012 Pages: 1057-1088
Melissa Thompson; Christopher Uggen
Date Published
November 2012
32 pages
This study examined the differences in the attainment of illegal earnings from drug crimes and illegal earnings from other forms of economic crime.
Drug crime often is viewed as distinctive from other types of crime, meriting greater or lesser punishment. In view of this special status, this article asks whether and how illegal earnings attainment differs between drug sales and other forms of economic crime. The authors estimate monthly illegal earnings with fixed-effects models, based on data from the National Supported Work Demonstration Project and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Although drug sales clearly differ from other types of income-generating crime, the authors found few differences in their determinants. For example, the use of cocaine or heroin increases illegal earnings from both drug and nondrug crimes, indicating some degree of fungibility in the sources of illegal income. More generally, the same set of factorsparticularly legal and illegal opportunities and embeddedness in criminal and conventional networkspredicts both drug earnings and nondrug illegal earnings. (Published Abstract)


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