“Mapping Criminal Organizations to Study Subnational Conflict and Politics
”. Working Papers: n. pag. Print.Abstract
Click here to learn more about the Mapping Criminal Organizations project.
The presence and activities of armed criminal groups has shaped governance and state capacity at the subnational level in many territories of contemporary Latin America. In turn, criminal group behavior and competition are driven by subnational government performance. Yet empirical studies of organized crime and criminal violence have been limited by a dearth of high-quality, systematic data on key attributes of violent criminal organizations including their structure, where they operate, what activities they engage in, and how they relate to one another. We present the first results of Mapping Criminal Organizations, a project that combines sources and methods, from hand-coding data to scraping and processing entire archives, to identify where armed criminal groups have operated and how they have related to each other, starting with Mexican states, cities, and municipalities. We also discuss three ways in which the data can be used to advance research on the presence and control of armed criminal groups: micro-dynamics of violence, variations on property rights protection, and provision of security. And we illustrate two of these avenues with examples from Mexico’s northern states.
Signoret, Patrick J.
“Kingpin Strikes and Criminal Group Competition
”. Working Papers. Print.Abstract
Recent empirical work has produced evidence that the forced removal (arrest or killing) of high-ranked members of criminal organizations in Mexico influences subsequent violence, generally finding that it leads to more violence within a year or in the longer term. However, those studies have been limited to a period of five years or less and have not tested the mechanisms through which criminal group “decapitation” is theorized to cause violence. This paper addresses both limitations. I scrutinize theorized mechanisms and test them using panel data regression analysis at both the state and municipal level, with the state level analysis expanding to eight years (2007–2014). I find no evidence for one of the key theorized channels through which kingpin strikes were thought to exacerbate violence—induced violent competition between enemy organizations—or for other testable mechanisms. In line with these findings, I find no relationship between kingpin strikes and subsequent violence in affected areas. The dynamics of leadership removal and subsequent violence are not yet fully understood, and likely evolved.