Cross-Border Spillover: U.S. Gun Laws and Violence in Mexico

69 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2013

See all articles by Arindrajit Dube

Arindrajit Dube

University of California, Berkeley - Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

Oeindrila Dube

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Omar Garcia Ponce

New York University (NYU)

Abstract

To what extent, and under what conditions, does access to arms fuel violent crime? To answer this question, we exploit a unique natural experiment: the 2004 expiration of the U.S. Federal Assault Weapons Ban exerted a spillover on gun supply in Mexican municipios near Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, but not near California, which retained a pre-existing state-level ban.We find first that Mexican municipios located closer to the non-California border states experienced differential increases in homicides, gun-related homicides and crime gun seizures in the post-2004 period. Second, the magnitude of this effect is contingent on political factors related to Mexico's democratic transition. Killings increased substantially more in municipios where local elections had become more competitive prior to 2004, with the largest differentials emerging in high narco-trafficking areas. Our findings are consistent with the notion that political competition undermined informal agreements between drug cartels and entrenched local governments, highlighting the role of political instability in mediating the gun-crime relationship.

Keywords: gun control, violence, informal employment, cross-border spillover, cartels

JEL Classification: K14, D72, D73

Suggested Citation

Dube, Arindrajit and Dube, Oeindrila and Garcia Ponce, Omar, Cross-Border Spillover: U.S. Gun Laws and Violence in Mexico. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7098. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2196763

Arindrajit Dube (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Institute for Research on Labor and Employment ( email )

2521 Channing Way #5555
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-9951 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cwed/dube.html

Oeindrila Dube

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 E 60th St
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Omar Garcia Ponce

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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