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Alberto Díaz-Cayeros
Journal Articles

Living in Fear: The Dynamics of Extortion in Mexico’s Drug War

Beatriz Magaloni, Gustavo Robles, Aila M. Matanock, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Vidal Romero
2020

Why do drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) sometimes prey on the communities in which they operate but sometimes provide assistance to these communities? What explains their strategies of extortion and co-optation toward civil society? Using new survey data from Mexico, including list experiments to elicit responses about potentially illegal behavior, this article measures the prevalence of extortion and assistance among DTOs.

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Journal Articles

Public Good Provision and Traditional Governance in Indigenous Communities in Oaxaca, Mexico

Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Alexander Ruiz Euler
2020

Can ethnically distinct communities ruled through “traditional” assemblies provide public goods and services better, than when they are ruled by leaders elected through “modern” multiparty elections? We exploit a unique institutional feature in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, where municipalities are ruled by traditional governance institutions, to explore the effect of these forms of governance on the provision of public goods. Using locality-level census data, we study the provision of local public goods through a geographic discontinuity approach.

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Working Papers

Caught in the Crossfire: The Geography of Extortion and Police Corruption in Mexico

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Vidal Romero
CDDRL Working Papers, page(s): 27 , 2017

When Mexican President Felipe Caldrón took office in December 2006 he declared a war on the nation’s drug traffic organizations (Ríos and Shirk, 2011). Violence escalated as criminal organizations became increasingly fragmented and disputed their territories (Killebrew and Bernal, 2010; Beittel, 2011).

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Working Papers

Authoritarian Survival and Poverty Traps: Land Reform in Mexico

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Michael Albertus, Barry R. Weingast
CDDRL Working Papers, page(s): 52 , 2017

This paper examines why governments in underdeveloped countries systematically pursue policies that prevent long-term economic growth. Focusing on the design and implementation of Mexico's massive land redistribution program, we argue that governments do so to improve their chances of political survival. Mexico’s incumbent PRI regime gave peasants communal property under a restrictive and inefficient property rights regime.

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Policy Briefs

Impact Evaluation: Program Jóvenes con Porvenir

Beatriz Magaloni, Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Brenda Jarillo Rabling
International Crime and Violence Lab, page(s): 20 , 2017

Jóvenes con Porvenir is a public-funded program run by the government of Zapopan. This pioneering policy initiative was designed and implemented in response to the major social and economic challenges affecting young people. The program offers scholarships to young men and women not enrolled in school, so they can attend vocational training courses regardless of their employment status.

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Books

"Political Logic of Poverty Relief" Electoral Strategies and Social Policy in Mexico

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Federico Estévez
Cambridge University Press, 2016 , 2016

Poverty relief programs are shaped by politics. The particular design that social programs take is, to a large extent, determined by the existing institutional constraints and politicians' imperative to win elections. The "Political Logic of Poverty Relief" places elections and institutional design at the core of poverty alleviation. The authors develop a theory with applications to Mexico about how elections shape social programs aimed at aiding the poor.

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Policy Briefs

Impact Evaluation: Program Jóvenes con Porvenir

Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Brenda Jarillo Rabling
International Crime and Violence Lab , 2015

Jóvenes con Porvenir is a public-funded program run by the government of Zapopan. This pioneering policy initiative was designed and implemented in response to the major social and economic challenges affecting young people. The program offers scholarships to young men and women not enrolled in school, so they can attend vocational training courses regardless of their employment status.

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Working Papers

The Beheading of Criminal Organizations and the Dynamics of Violence in Mexico’s Drug War [June 2015]

Gabriela Calderón, Gustavo Robles, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni
CDDRL Working Paper , 2015

In 2006 the Mexican government launched an aggressive campaign to weaken drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs). The security policies differed significantly from those of previous administrations in the use of a leadership strategy (the targeting for arrest of the highest levels or core leadership of criminal networks). While these strategies can play an important role in disrupting the targeted criminal organization, they can also have unintended consequences, increasing inter-cartel and intra-cartel fighting and fragmenting criminal organizations.

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Working Papers

The Beheading of Criminal Organizations and the Dynamics of Violence in Mexico’s Drug War

Gabriela Calderón, Gabriela Calderón, Gustavo Robles, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni
CDDRL Working Paper, page(s): 49 , 2015

In 2006 the Mexican government launched an aggressive campaign to weaken drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs). The security policies differed significantly from those of previous administrations in the use of a leadership strategy (the targeting for arrest of the highest levels or core leadership of criminal networks).

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Working Papers

Living in Fear: The Dynamics of Extortion in Mexico's Criminal Insurgency [Feb. 2015]

Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Aila M. Matanock , Vidal Romero
CDDRL Working Papers , 2015

This paper provides an account of the strategies of extortion and co-optation used by drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) toward civil society in Mexico. Drawing on the civil war and mafia crime literatures, our theoretical approach focuses on levels of territorial contestation among armed actors, as well as state capture by DTOs, to explain variation in co-opting or coercing civil society. Through the use of list experiments in a nationally representative survey, the paper measures extortion and assistance by DTOs in Mexico. We find that the effect of territorial contestation among rival DTOs has two effects. The effect on extortion is non-linear: highly contested places and non-contested places, controlled by a single DTO, show significantly less extortion than moderately contested places. The effect on assistance is negative: DTOs provide assistance mostly in non-contested places. Additionally, using areas of governance by the former ruling party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), as a proxy for state capture by DTOs, we find that both DTO and police extortion is higher in municipalities where the state has been captured. These results suggest that territorial contestation and state capture are important in determining the choice of tactics toward civil society during drug wars.

 

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Working Papers

Authoritarian Survival and Poverty Traps: Land Reform in Mexico [Feb. 2015]

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Michael Albertus, Barry R. Weingast
CDDRL Working Papers , 2015

This paper examines why governments in underdeveloped countries systematically pursue policies that prevent long-term economic growth. Focusing on the design and implementation of Mexico's massive land redistribution program, we argue that governments do so to improve their chances of political survival. Mexico’s incumbent PRI regime gave peasants communal property under a restrictive and inefficient property rights regime. This form of land reform created dependence upon the regime for survival. We find empirical support for this hypothesis using data from a panel of Mexican states from 1917-1992. Land distribution was higher during election years and where the threat of rural unrest was greater. We also show that economic growth and modernization eroded PRI support over the long term, and, further, that PRI support eroded more slowly in states receiving greater levels of land. Inefficient land redistribution therefore served the PRI’s electoral interests, generating a loyal political clientele; and it contributed to political stability. Nonetheless, this policy carried steep costs: land reform substantially depressed long-term economic growth. These findings hold across various model specifications and instrumental variables estimation.

 

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Working Papers

Caught in the Crossfire: The Geography of Extortion and Police Corruption in Mexico [Feb. 2015]

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Vidal Romero
CDDRL Working Papers , 2015

When Mexican President Felipe Caldrón took office in December 2006 he declared a war on the nation’s drug traffic organizations (Ríos and Shirk, 2011). Violence escalated as criminal organizations became increasingly fragmented and disputed their territories (Killebrew and Bernal, 2010; Beittel, 2011). The main strategy followed by the federal government involved capturing leaders and lieutenants of criminal organizations (Calderón et al. forthcoming). This seemed to provoke even more violence, by making the competition over territorial control fiercer and providing incentives for many gangs to make extortion and protection fees (derecho de piso) an additional source of revenue (Guerrero-Gutiérrez, 2010). Given the absence of legal (and peaceful) rules and enforcement mechanisms for competitors in the illegal drug market, disagreements were usually solved violently. Under the pressure of the crackdown by the federal police, the navy and the army, contracts among criminal gangs were often disrupted, leading to even more violence.1 Competition over the strategic routes towards the market in the United States was settled by literally eliminating rivals (Dell, 2012).

This chapter explores the connection between police distrust, corruption and extortion. Despite the difficulty in measuring these phenomena through conventional public opinion polls and citizen or firm level surveys, much can be learned from the variation across geographic units in reported victimization and corruption. We use a list experiment collected through the Survey on Public Safety and Governance in Mexico (SPSGM), to study the practices of extortion by both police forces and criminal organizations.4 Using a Bayesian spatial estimation method, we provide a mapping of the geographic distribution of police extortion.

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Working Papers

Information, Female Empowerment and Governance in Oaxaca, Mexico [Feb. 2015]

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Alexander Ruiz-Euler
CDDRL Working Papers , 2015

Traditional community rules are formally recognized in multiple constitutions across Latin America. Scholars debate the extent to which these practices conform to broader principles of gender equality. A unique institutional feature in the impoverished state of Oaxaca, Mexico, divides municipalities into traditional and party-based governance. We exploit this feature with original survey data and find that rates of female participation in traditional communities are not different when compared to non-traditional ones. We also conduct a survey experiment to explore how perceptions about female leadership change with factual information about female mayors. We find the strongest demonstration effect on women recipient of the conditional cash transfer program Oportunidades. Our evidence suggests overall that traditional governance is not a relevant dimension to understand female disempowerment, and that entrenched discriminatory practices against women (which exist but are not inherent to traditional rule) are sensitive to community bargains and well-designed policy.

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Working Papers

Living in Fear: The Dynamics of Extortion in Mexico's Criminal Insurgency

Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Aila Matanock, Vidal Romero
CDDRL Working Papers, page(s): 47 , 2015

This paper provides an account of the strategies of extortion and co-optation used by drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) toward civil society in Mexico. Drawing on the civil war and mafia crime literatures, our theoretical approach focuses on levels of territorial contestation among armed actors, as well as state capture by DTOs, to explain variation in co-opting or coercing civil society.

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Journal Articles

Traditional Governance, Citizen Engagement and Local Public Goods: Evidence from Mexico

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni, Alexander Ruiz Euler
World Development , 2013

We study the governance of public good provision in poor communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. We estimate the effect of usos y costumbres—a form of participatory democracy prevalent in indigenous communities—on the provision of local public goods. Because governance is endogenous, we address selection effects by matching on municipal characteristics and long-term settlement patterns.

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Working Papers

The Mexican War on Drugs: Crime and the Limits of Government Persuasion

Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Vidal Romero
CDDRL Working Papers , 2013
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Working Papers

How do Crime and Violence Impact Presidential Approval? Examining the Dynamics of the Mexican Case

Beatriz Magaloni, Vidal Romero, Alberto Díaz-Cayeros
CDDRL Working Papers , 2013
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Policy Briefs

La Geografía Electoral de 2012 (México)

Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Jorge Olarte, Edgar Franco Vivanco
México Evalua , 2012

On July 1, over 50 million Mexicans went to the polls to elect the next President of the Republic. The official count showed the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, as winning with 38.21% of the vote. He was followed by Democratic Revolucionary Party (PRD) candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who received 31.59% of the vote and National Action Party (PAN) candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota with 25.41% of the vote.

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Books

Welfare Benefits, Canvassing, and Campaign Handouts

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, Federico Estévez, Beatriz Magaloni
Consilidating Mexico's Democracy, edited by Jorge I. Domínguez, Chappel Lawson, and Alejandro Moreno , 2009
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Journal Articles

Aiding Latin America's Poor

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Beatriz Magaloni
Journal of Democracy , 2009

(excerpt) Social policy in Latin America has traditionally failed to benefit the poor. Throughout most of the twentieth century, the main redistributive efforts in the region went into building welfare states. Yet unlike their European counterparts, these Latin American welfare states are highly “truncated,” meaning that whatever their nominal degree of universality, in fact they only cover those with formal employment. The poor, being mostly outside the formal sector of the economy, are outside the ambit of the welfare state as well.

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Books

Federalism, Fiscal Authority, and Centralization in Latin America

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros
Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics , 2006

This book explores the politics of fiscal authority, focusing on the centralization of taxation in Latin America during the twentieth century. The book studies this issue in great detail for the case of Mexico. The political (and fiscal) fragmentation associated with civil war at the beginning of the century was eventually transformed into a highly centralized regime. The analysis shows that fiscal centralization can best be studied as the consequence of a bargain struck between self-interested regional and national politicians.

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