Seminario de Investigación "Breaking the Gang: A Preventive Approach to Reduce Recruitment in Schools"

El seminario, destinado a docentes, investigadores, becarios y estudiantes interesados en la temática, se realizó el 28 de junio a las 12:30 hs. a través de una videoconferencia Zoom.

María Micaela Sviatschi es Profesora en Princeton University e Investigadora asociada a la Red CESifo, NBER, BREAD, the African School of Economics, AMIE, ESOC, e International Crisis Group. Tiene un PhD en Economía por Columbia University y completó la Maestría y la Licenciatura en Economía en la Universidad de San Andrés. Sus investigaciones se centran en temas de economía laboral y del desarrollo, con énfasis en capital humano, violencia de género y economía del crimen. Sus trabajos han sido publicados en revistas académicas como Econometrica, American Economic Review, AER Papers and Proceedings, Journal of Development Economics, Economic Journal, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Review of Economic Studies, Quarterly Journal of Economics y Economica, entre otras.

Abstract: In this paper we study an alternative approach to reduce the expansion of criminal organizations: preventing gang recruitment at schools, where criminal organizations commonly target children. To do so, we exploit the staggered implementation of a preventive program in El Salvador that increased anti-gang recruitment campaigns by police patrolling at schools. We show that by focusing on schools, the use of police officers as a preventive measure can reduce gang recruitment at an early age having positive long-term effects on children’s human capital and potentially reducing gangs’ revenues. In particular, we show that children at key ages for recruitment are significantly less likely to drop out of school. Using administrative data, we further find that immediately after the start of the program the gang recruitment declined by 50\% and that children are less likely to be detained in juvenile centers due to gang-related crimes. In turn, these outcomes reduce the likelihood of children becoming involved in a cycle of crime within organized crime networks. We find that affected children are less likely to be incarcerated for gang-related crimes in adulthood. As a result of this decline, we find evidence that gangs' main business extortion is affected in the long run. By addressing a root cause of future criminality, this policy effectively limits gang expansion and decreases their revenue streams, as they have less labor to perform their activities.

Autores: Eleno Castro (Johns Hopkins University), Felipe Coy (Princeton University), Carlos Schmidt-Padilla (University of Pennsylvania) & María Micaela Sviatschi (Princeton University)

Organizan: Departamento de Economía, Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Revista Económica


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