Narcotraficantes and economic growth in Mexico

I just came across a new working paper entitled “Crime and growth convergence : evidence from Mexico” by the awesomely named Ted Enamorado and his co-authors Luis Lopez-Calva and Carlos Rodriguez-Castelan.  They study crime in Mexico and test whether different types of crime affect economic growth differently.  Here is what they find:

Scholars have often argued that crime deters growth, but the empirical literature assessing such effect is scarce. By exploiting cross-municipality income and crime data for Mexico — a country that experienced a high increase in crime rates over the past decade — this study circumvents two of the most common problems faced by researchers in this area. These are: (i) the lack of a homogenous, consistently comparable measure of crime and (ii) the small sample problem in the estimation. Combining income data from poverty maps, administrative records on crime and violence, and public expenditures data at the municipal level for Mexico (2005-2010), the analysis finds evidence indicating that drug-related crimes indeed deter growth. It also finds no evidence of a negative effect on growth from crimes unrelated to drug trafficking.

h/t @mclem

Sábado Gigante

A Mexico news round-up:

1. Mexico’s Economy Has Yet to Grow in 2013

2. Mexico is re-instating driving exams to get a driver’s license

3. State Legislator Hacked to Death During an Interview. “Armed men in a Mexican state struggling to contain gang violence hacked to death a member of the state legislature with a machete while he was being interviewed by a journalist.” !!

4. A good slideshow of Mexican police evicting the teacher’s union from the Zocalo.

Department of duh

Of all the interesting articles out there about the capture of the Zeta cartel boss and what it means for Mexico’s drug war, this headline takes the cake on least insightful and most obvious:

Mexican Capo Tried to Escape While Being Captured

Wow, I’m shocked. That’s some hard-hitting journalism. I would have never guessed.

Mexico in the news

If you are interested in Mexico, especially if you want to read more on drug trafficking and crime, then Alejandro Hope is your guy.  He’s a researcher who studies these issues and tweets regularly on them. Here is a link to his blog and his twitter handle is @ahope71. (By the way, he posts in English and in Spanish).

The reason I bring this up is that Alejandro recommended a bunch of great articles on Mexico this morning.  Here are the titles and links:

1. Exporting pacification to Mexico  “Mexico has held talks with the Israeli defence ministry on confronting the Zapatistas of Chiapas. Why now?”

2. In the hot land, Mexicans just say no to drug cartels. “Communities in Michoacan’s Tierra Caliente are rising up against the drug-trafficking gangs that have terrorized them for years.”

3. ‘Zetas Spend All Their Drug Trafficking Profits on Fighting Gulf Cartel’  “During his testimony, Rejon also implied that the Zetas enjoyed the backing of Mexican police and military during its struggle against the Gulf Cartel, stating that the authorities would take bribes in exchange for information and other services, among them kidnapping.”

4. Políticos mexicanos encomiendan a Dios el control de sus Gobiernos (roughly, Mexican politicians are symbolically turning over political power to God).  4 mayors have recently given Jesus the key to the city in hopes of reducing violence.

and lastly (not from Alejandro), there is the cat that is running for mayor (to wit, the candigato).  While it’s obviously a joke, the cat’s popularity probably demonstrates how cynical and disenchanted the population is of politicians.

Morris The Cat For Mayor: Xalapa, Mexico Candidate Promises To Sleep And Do Nothing  “He promises “Xalapa Without Rats” and guarantees that he’ll lounge around and do nothing all day. He also admits that he’s likely to make a mess in office. But at least he’ll cover it up rather than leaving it around for others to clean up.”

morris2                                 MorrisForMayor.jpg 

Apparently he is not the first.  Stubbs the cat ran and won a mayorship in Alaska in 1997. He apparently did such a good job that he is still honorary mayor. Way to go Stubbs!