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Keywords:

  • Add Health;
  • propensity score matching;
  • inverse probability of treatment weights;
  • gang membership

Abstract

This study reconsiders the well-known link between gang membership and criminal involvement. Recently developed analytical techniques enabled the approximation of an experimental design to determine whether gang members, after being matched with similarly situated nongang members, exhibited greater involvement in nonviolent and violent delinquency. Findings indicated that while gang membership is a function of self-selection, selection effects alone do not account for the greater involvement in delinquency exhibited by gang members. After propensity score matching was employed, gang members maintained a greater involvement in both nonviolent and violent delinquency when measured cross-sectionally, but only violent delinquency when measured longitudinally. Additional analyses using inverse probability of treatment weights reaffirmed these conclusions. Aggr. Behav. 36:437–451, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.