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Escaping precariousness: criminal occupational mobility of homicide inmates during the Mexican drug war


  • Zepeda Gil, Raul


One of the main inquiry topics within crime and conflict studies is how inequalities or poverty fosters or deters participation in organised violence. Since the late 1990s, the increase in violence in Latin America has boosted the use of Global North criminology and conflict studies to explain this phenomenon. Although helpful, the question about the link between inequality and violence remains elusive. Instead, this research uses occupational mobility and life course approaches to analyse the latest Mexican inmate survey data. With this data, we can understand the factors behind youth recruitment into violent criminal organisations during the current drug war. The main findings point to youth transitions from school and low-skilled manual employment towards criminal violent activities as an option out of work precariousness. This research proposes researching transitions to organised violence as an occupational choice in market economies and post-conflict settlements as a possible causal mechanism that explains inequalities and violence.

Suggested Citation

  • Zepeda Gil, Raul, 2024. "Escaping precariousness: criminal occupational mobility of homicide inmates during the Mexican drug war," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 122539, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:122539

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch & Mauricio Rivera & Bárbara Zárate-Tenorio, 2022. "Can Education Reduce Violent Crime? Evidence from Mexico before and after the Drug War Onset," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 58(2), pages 292-309, February.
    2. De Hoyos Navarro,Rafael E. & Gutierrez Fierros,Carlos & Vargas M.,J. Vicente, 2016. "Idle youth in Mexico : trapped between the war on drugs and economic crisis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7558, The World Bank.
    3. Eric Neumayer, 2005. "Inequality and Violent Crime: Evidence from Data on Robbery and Violent Theft," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 42(1), pages 101-112, January.
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    More about this item


    Latin America; occupational mobility; conflict; crime; violence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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