Other ethical problems in Venkatesh's research
There were other ethical problems in Venkatesh's research. For example, he wanted to find out about the economic relations formed by individuals who do not have formal jobs. He found out that many of the gang members supplemented their income with different activity ranging from baby-sitting, carpentry, fixing cars in alleys to prostitution. The two individuals with most authority in this situation were J.T. the gang leader and Ms. Bailey who was the building manager who turned a blind eye to the gang's activities in return for payments and protection. Both of these individuals had given their blessing to the research project and found individuals for Venkatesh to interview. They were interested in the research and Venkatesh told them what he had found out about individuals' side businesses. Obviously, this is problematic because he has promised confidentiality to his participants and there is also a problem of the power relationship and potential coercion. Both J.T. and Ms. Bailey are very powerful individuals in the high rise and could use the information for their own purposes, to coerce other individuals.
Both J.T. and Ms. Bailey took a cut of any informal income made by these individuals in return for benefits such as security and access to some welfare. In a way in this underground economy they acted as a combination of police, social worker and tax collector. They were so interested in the results of Venkatesh's research so they could ensure they were getting their "due". Just as some people do not declare all their income to the government not everyone had been upfront with J.T. and Ms. Bailey about the amount they earned through these means. J.T. and Ms. Bailey subsequently demanded more money off them and they were furious with Venkatesh for sharing his research with them and refused to speak to him after that. Venkatesh said that after he realised why J.T. and Ms. Bailey were so interested he felt sick.