Do local elections increase violence? Electoral cycles and organized crime in Mexico

  • Aldo F. PonceEmail author
  • Rodrigo Velázquez López Velarde
  • Jaime Sáinz Santamaría


Although several previous studies have advanced the knowledge of how violence perpetrated by DTOs affects electoral outcomes, the study of how levels of criminal violence vary during local electoral contests remains scant. Stated differently, we know little on whether the local electoral cycle has an effect on the level of criminal violence. Employing the CIDE-PPD Database, we find that local elections do have an effect on levels of DTOs violence and that the greatest incentives to upscale violence occur shortly before election day. These fluctuations suggest that DTOs are actively seeking to influence local governance in their favor especially during the campaigns. Our analysis also suggests that candidates in local Mexican elections face a more precarious and dangerous situation compared to recently-elected authorities.


Criminal organizations Mexico Municipal elections Local electoral cycle 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no potential conflicts of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This research does not involve participants and/or animals.

Informed consent

This research does not involve participants.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political StudiesCentre for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE)Mexico CityMexico
  2. 2.Department of Public AdministrationCentre for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE)Mexico CityMexico
  3. 3.Department of Public AdministrationCentre for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE)AguascalientesMexico

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