Guns and violence: The enduring impact of crack cocaine markets on young black males

William N. Evans, Craig Garthwaite, Timothy J. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The violence associated with crack cocaine markets in the 1980s and 1990s has repercussions today. Using cross-city variation in when crack cocaine arrived and an older comparison group, we estimate that the US murder rate of black males aged 15–24 was still 70 percent higher 17 years after crack markets had emerged. Using the fraction of gun-related suicides as a proxy for gun availability, we find that increased access to guns led to persistently higher murder rates. Our estimates imply that more guns due to crack-related violence explains approximately one-tenth of the current life-expectancy gap between white and black males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104581
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Volume206
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Black males
  • Crack cocaine
  • Drug epidemics
  • Guns
  • Homicide
  • Life expectancy
  • Murder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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