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DEALERS, THIEVES, AND THE COMMON DETERMINANTS OF DRUG AND NONDRUG ILLEGAL EARNINGS*

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Abstract:

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. We 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, we find 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 factors—particularly legal and illegal opportunities and embeddedness in criminal and conventional networks—predicts both drug earnings and nondrug illegal earnings.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2012.00286.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Portland State University 2: Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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