This article explores the links between self‐admitted drug dealing and labor force behavior to determine if and/or how returns to employment influence the decisions by both blacks and whites to enter drug dealing. Using data collected on inmates in prisons and jails in California, Michigan, and Texas, this analysis concludes that black and white offenders vastly differ in their perceptions of criminal opportunities. But the dominant factor contributing to entry into drug selling, especially among black males, is unattractive market opportunities. One cannot determine unambiguously whether this results from the lure of drug dealing for its entrepreneurial attractiveness or simply results from crime versus employment choices. In any case, evidence presented clearly shows that racial differences in returns to employment explain most of the gap between black and white drug dealing.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Contemporary Economic Policy|
|State||Published - Apr 1992|