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War on drugs, violence, and the share of low-income workers in Mexico


  • Carlos A. Carrasco

    () (Departamento de Economía, Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM))

  • Mario Durán-Bustamante

    () (Escuela Superior de Economía, Instituto Politécnico Nacional (ESE-IPN))


We analyse the average effects of increased violence generated by Joint Interventions (Operativos Conjuntos) within the so-called war on drugs at the municipal level in Mexico on the percentage of the working population earning twice the minimum wage or less. We implement a semiparametric difference-in-differences approach (Abadie 2005; Houngbedji 2016) by constructing a treatment dummy variable for the most violent municipalities of Mexican states treated by Joint Interventions. This approach uses covariates to adjust the differences between groups before the treatment through propensity scores. Consequently, assuming similar pretreatment characteristics in covariates, in the absence of the treatment, treated individuals would have a similar outcome relative to the nontreated group. After controlling for socioeconomic characteristics, results show an increase in the share of low-income workers in the most violent municipalities. Additionally, results show that the more violent the municipality is, the larger is the increase in the share of low-income workers. Our results are robust to changes in the sample and to changes in the construction of the treatment variable. Finally, we discuss some public policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos A. Carrasco & Mario Durán-Bustamante, 2018. "War on drugs, violence, and the share of low-income workers in Mexico," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 38(2), pages 696-702.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-18-00121

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Enamorado, Ted & López-Calva, Luis F. & Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos & Winkler, Hernán, 2016. "Income inequality and violent crime: Evidence from Mexico's drug war," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 128-143.
    2. Enamorado, Ted & López-Calva, Luis F. & Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos, 2014. "Crime and growth convergence: Evidence from Mexico," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 9-13.
    3. O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Sinnott, Richard, 2006. "The determinants of individual attitudes towards immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 838-861, December.
    4. Ashby, Nathan J. & Ramos, Miguel A., 2013. "Foreign direct investment and industry response to organized crime: The Mexican case," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 80-91.
    5. Verdugo-Yepes, Concepción & Pedroni, Peter & Hu, Xingwei, 2015. "Crime and the Economy in Mexican States : Heterogeneous Panel Estimates (1993-2012)," MPRA Paper 64930, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2007. "Inverse probability weighted estimation for general missing data problems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1281-1301, December.
    7. Nancy Lozano-Gracia & Gianfranco Piras & Ana Maria Ibáñez & Geoffrey J. D. Hewings, 2010. "The Journey to Safety: Conflict-Driven Migration Flows in Colombia," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 33(2), pages 157-180, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jose Roberto Balmori de la Miyar, 0. "Breaking sad: drug-related homicides and mental well-being in Mexico," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 0, pages 1-19.

    More about this item


    War on drugs; Violence; Low-income workers; Mexico;

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations


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