Bullets and Votes: Violence and Electoral Participation in Mexico

Alejandro Trelles, Miguel Carreras


In this paper we analyze the effect of criminal violence on electoral participation in Mexico. Many scholars have studied the origins of criminal violence, as well as the success or failure of contemporary regimes in dealing with it. However, few have studied how it affects voter turnout. Following recent findings in the behavioral subfield, we hypothesize that as criminal violence increases, citizens abandon public channels of participation and take refuge in their private spheres. Using longitudinal and geostatistical tools to analyze Mexican municipalities in the last decade, we find that the level of electoral turnout is lower in the most violent regions of the country. In the final section, we use survey data to confirm that citizens exposed to high levels of criminal violence are less likely to vote.

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