NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Underground Gun Markets

Philip J. Cook, Jens Ludwig, Sudhir Venkatesh, Anthony A. Braga

NBER Working Paper No. 11737
Issued in November 2005
NBER Program(s):   CH   HE   LE

This paper provides an economic analysis of underground gun markets drawing on interviews with gang members, gun dealers, professional thieves, prostitutes, police, public school security guards and teens in the city of Chicago, complemented by results from government surveys of recent arrestees in 22 cities plus administrative data for suicides, homicides, robberies, arrests and confiscated crime guns. We find evidence of considerable frictions in the underground market for guns in Chicago. We argue that these frictions are due primarily to the fact that the underground gun market is both illegal and “thin” -- the number of buyers, sellers and total transactions is small and relevant information is scarce. Gangs can help overcome these market frictions, but the gang’s economic interests cause gang leaders to limit supply primarily to gang members, and even then transactions are usually loans or rentals with strings attached.

download in pdf format
   (432 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (432 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Published: Cook, P. J., J. Ludwig, S.A. Venkatesh, and A.A. Braga. "Underground gun markets." Economic Journal 117 (November, 2007).

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Duggan w7967 More Guns, More Crime
Cook and Ludwig w10736 The Social Costs of Gun Ownership
Knight w17469 State Gun Policy and Cross-State Externalities: Evidence from Crime Gun Tracing
Cook, Ludwig, and Samaha w15431 Gun Control after Heller: Litigating against Regulation
Levitt and Venkatesh w6592 An Economic Analysis of a Drug-Selling Gang's Finances
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us