Pursuing Cultural Goals, Rejecting Institutional Means: An Anomic Analysis of Illegal Labor Market Wages and Household Dynamics

Bryan L. Sykes, University of California, Berkeley

Despite the plethora of research on the causes and consequences of illicit drug consumption, the distributors of these substances have garnered very little attention. In most of the analyzes on this topic, the sellers, users, and the state are the only actors. I will show that the seller's decision to embed himself in the illegal economy needs to be situated in the context of household dynamics (family demography). Using pooled data from the Arrestee and Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM), I investigate how household size and composition affect illegal wages earned from illicit drug sales. My findings support the dearth of research on illegal earnings, and they also show that the effect of father-presence in the household has little effect on mitigating the illegal revenues of the seller any more than if the seller lived in a single female-headed household. Lastly, I find that the size of the household is less important than its composition.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration, Income, Employment, Neighborhoods and Residential Context