DP10769 Fighting Crime with a Little Help from my Friends: Political Alignment, Inter-Jurisdictional Cooperation and Crime in Mexico

Author(s): Ruben Durante, Emilio Gutierrez
Publication Date: August 2015
Keyword(s): crime, inter-jurisdictional cooperation, law enforcement, Mexico, political parties
JEL(s): H11, H41, H7
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10769

We investigate the relationship between inter-jurisdictional cooperation and law enforcement in Mexico. Exploiting a Regression Discontinuity Design in close municipal elections, we study how improved opportunities for cooperation in crime prevention among neighboring municipalities - proxied by the degree of political alignment between mayors - may result in lower rates of violent crime. We find that municipalities in which the party in power in the majority of neighboring jurisdictions barely won experience significantly lower homicide rates during the mayor's mandate than those in which it barely lost. This effect is sizeable and robust, is increasing in the share of neighboring municipalities governed by the same party, is independent of which party governs the neighboring municipalities, and does not appear to be driven by improved cooperation with either federal or state authorities.