dealers, thieves, and the common determinants of drug and nondrug illegal earnings

Melissa Thompson, Christopher Uggen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Drug crime often is viewed as distinctive from other types of crime, meriting greater or lesser punishment. In view of this special status, this article asks whether and how illegal earnings attainment differs between drug sales and other forms of economic crime. We estimate monthly illegal earnings with fixed-effects models, based on data from the National Supported Work Demonstration Project and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Although drug sales clearly differ from other types of income-generating crime, we find few differences in their determinants. For example, the use of cocaine or heroin increases illegal earnings from both drug and nondrug crimes, indicating some degree of fungibility in the sources of illegal income. More generally, the same set of factors-particularly legal and illegal opportunities and embeddedness in criminal and conventional networks-predicts both drug earnings and nondrug illegal earnings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1087
Number of pages31
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Differences in predictors
  • Drug sales
  • Drugs and money
  • Illegal earnings


Dive into the research topics of 'dealers, thieves, and the common determinants of drug and nondrug illegal earnings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this