The Becker Friedman Institute, Princeton University, and Innovations for Poverty Action hosted the sixth webinar in a series presenting innovative research on crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Young people account for a disproportionate high fraction of perpetrators and victims of violence, due in part to their involvement with criminal groups. Still, very little is known about the organization of these groups and how they function. A better understanding of how criminal organizations attract the youth and how they operate is paramount in designing an effective strategy to fight crime and curb violence, but the difficulty in “getting inside” these criminal organizations has been a major obstacle. Using a unique dataset of individuals employed in drug-trafficking gangs operating in favelas (slums) in Rio de Janeiro, researchers provide us with an unprecedented picture of the criminal entry, career, and exit alternatives among gang-members.
In this webinar, Rodrigo Soares (Columbia University) presented the results of this study on selection of youth into gangs, the occupational structure of these organizations, and the “careers” of gang members in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Laura Chioda (UC Berkeley) commented on the implications of this research.