Seminario Programa para el Estudio de la Violencia | Primavera 2022 – PEV

Seminario Programa para el Estudio de la Violencia | Primavera 2022

Consulta aquí todas las sesiones del seminario del Programa para el Estudio de la Violencia, primavera 2022.

Machine Gun Politics: Why Politicians Cooperate with Criminal Groups

Why do politicians cooperate with organized criminal groups? Existing accounts explore such groups’ incentives to cooperate, but largely treat politicians as either victims of violence or passive bribe takers. This paper considers why a politician may seek criminal groups’ help to get votes. I argue that some politicians win elections by using an electoral strategy that I call criminal clientelism. Politicians hire criminal groups as brokers to deliver votes through two mechanisms: (1) corralling mobilizes groups of residents to the polls and (2) gatekeeping prevents rival candidates from accessing voters. I use a natural experiment that leverages exogenous variation in voter assignment to ballot boxes and a novel dataset on criminal governance to test my theory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I show that corralling increases turnout and influences vote choice, and gatekeeping restricts the candidate pool. Together, the mechanisms underpinning criminal clientelism decrease competitiveness and increase the probability of victory for criminally allied candidates. I illustrate the logic of criminal clientelism using qualitative data based on more than 50 in-person interviews and thousands of anonymous voter complaints. These findings bring together the literatures on clientelism and criminal governance by demonstrating that politicians at the margin are motivated to hire violent criminals.

Public Health Care Resources as Spoils of War: How Paramilitaries Looted and Shaped the Market of Health Care Provision in Colombia

Civil war can significantly affect the provision of public goods and services. Risks to life and resources from violence can deter the provision of services and goods. Yet, provision of public goods and services still takes place in contexts of violence and this provision can be shaped by non-state providers of order. In this paper, I analyze how the presence of paramilitary groups in Colombia affected the mode of provision of health care services at the municipal level. I argue that the presence of these non-state providers of order decrease provision of public health care services via these actors diverting public health funds toward their pockets. I show that paramilitary cooptation of public health institutions and resources tilted the market of health care provision toward a greater emergence of private over public providers of health care services. Using data on the share of public and private health care providers, as well as the presence of armed groups at the municipal level, I show that the presence of paramilitaries leads to a 2 percent lower share of emerging public health care providers.

Gendered Vulnerabilities: Perceptions of Political Violence among Mexican Politicians

Recent debates on the interrelationship between gender, politics, and violence ask: do women politicians face violence because aggressors are seeking to keep women subordinate (violence against women in politics), or do women face the same political violence as men, albeit with some differences in forms (gendered political violence)? Answering this question becomes particularly difficult in national contexts where political violence is commonplace, as in Mexico. To disentangle violence against women in politics from gendered political violence, we surveyed Mexican candidates for federal, state, and local office about their experiences with violence. We find that women respondents believe that women politicians are more threatened and more unsafe than men, with large majorities perceiving that women are attacked because of their gender. Yet we find few systematic differences in the forms of attacks and perpetrators: for instance, women and men are equally likely to say they receive threats and equally likely to identify aggressors as members of rival parties followed by members of their own party. Our results suggest that political violence in Mexico affects both men and women in similar ways, but that women understand their experiences differently. Women perceive themselves as (potential) victims of violence against women in politics, rather than victims of ‘just’ political violence. Policymakers may need to tackle the systems of patriarchal privilege that contribute to women’s insecurity, even if these systems themselves are not (always) driving the actual violence.

From Victims to Resilient Citizens: The Policy Feedback Effects of State Violence | Seminario

The Legacy of Mexico’s Drug War on Youth Political Attitudes

Over the past decade and a half, a generation of Mexicans has been raised amidst the most violent conflict that the country has experienced since the 1910 Revolution. We investigate the sociopolitical impact of this unprecedented wave of criminal violence among the youth. How has the so-called Drug War affected their political behavior, attitudes toward the government, and political preferences? We generate a contextualized and empirically-based understanding of how exposure to violence during childhood influences the formation of political beliefs. We use a mixed-method research design based on two key components. First, we use a nationally representative survey conducted in Mexico among young adults to measure their sociopolitical attitudes. Second, we conduct a series of focus groups which follow a sequential explanatory design to further explore potential mechanisms mediating the relationship between different types of exposure to violence during childhood and political attitudes and behavior.