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It's No Spring Break in Cancun: The Effects of Exposure to Violence on Risk Preferences, Pro-Social Behavior, and Mental Health

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  • Muhammad Nasir

    (Department of Economics, Clark University, USA)

  • Marc Rockmore

    (Department of Economics, Clark University, USA)

  • Chih Ming Tan

    (Department of Economics, University of North Dakota, USA; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

Abstract

Exposure to violence has been found to affect behavioral parameters, mental health and social interactions. The literature focuses on large scale political violence. The effects of high levels of criminal violence – a common phenomenon in Latin America and the Caribbean – are largely unknown. We examine drug violence in Mexico and, I particular, the effects of exposure to high municipal levels of homicides on risk aversion, mental health and pro-social behavior. Using a nonlinear difference-in-differences (DID) model and data from the 2005-06 and 2009-12 waves of the Mexican Family Life Survey, we find that the surge in violence in Mexico after 2006 significantly increased risk aversion and reduced trust in civic institutions while simultaneously strengthening kinship relationships. Although the deterioration of mental health due to violence exposure has been hypothesized to explain changes in risk aversion, we find no such effect. This suggests that the literature may be potentially missing out on other relevant channels.

Suggested Citation

  • Muhammad Nasir & Marc Rockmore & Chih Ming Tan, 2015. "It's No Spring Break in Cancun: The Effects of Exposure to Violence on Risk Preferences, Pro-Social Behavior, and Mental Health," Working Paper series 15-40, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:15-40
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    Cited by:

    1. Friedman, Abigail S., 2020. "Smoking to cope: Addictive behavior as a response to mental distress," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    2. Magda Tsaneva & Pinar Mine Gunes, 2020. "The effect of violent crime on teenage pregnancy in Mexico," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 141-164, March.
    3. Kettlewell, Nathan & Rijsdijk, Fruhling & Siribaddana, Sisira & Sumathipala, Athula & Tymula, Agnieszka & Zavos, Helena & Glozier, Nicholas, 2018. "Civil War, Natural Disaster and Risk Preferences: Evidence from Sri Lankan Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 11901, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Magda Tsaneva & Marc Rockmore & Zahra Albohmood, 2019. "The effect of violent crime on female decision-making within the household: evidence from the Mexican war on drugs," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 615-646, June.
    5. Marc Rockmore & Christopher B. Barrett & Jeannie Annan, 2016. "An Empirical Exploration of the Near-Term and Persistent Effects of Conflict on Risk Preferences," HiCN Working Papers 239, Households in Conflict Network.
    6. Kevin M. Morrison & Marc Rockmore, 2016. "Fear and Political Participation: Evidence from Africa," HiCN Working Papers 226, Households in Conflict Network.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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