Economic and Non-Economic Factors in Violence: Evidence from Organized Crime, Suicides and Climate in Mexico

41 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018

See all articles by Ceren Baysan

Ceren Baysan

University of California, Berkeley

Marshall Burke

University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics

Solomon Hsiang

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 2018

Abstract

Organized intergroup violence is almost universally modeled as a calculated act motivated by economic factors. In contrast, it is generally assumed that non-economic factors, such as an individual's emotional state, play a role in many types of interpersonal violence, such as "crimes of passion." We ask whether economic or non-economic factors better explain the well-established relationship between temperature and violence in a unique context where intergroup killings by drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) and "normal" interpersonal homicides are separately documented. A constellation of evidence, including the limited influence of a cash transfer program as well as comparison with both non-violent DTO crime and suicides, indicate that economic factors only partially explain the observed relationship between temperature and violence. We argue that non-economic psychological and physiological factors that are affected by temperature, modeled here as a "taste for violence," likely play an important role in causing both interpersonal and intergroup violence.

Suggested Citation

Baysan, Ceren and Burke, Marshall and González, Felipe and Hsiang, Solomon and Miguel, Edward, Economic and Non-Economic Factors in Violence: Evidence from Organized Crime, Suicides and Climate in Mexico (August 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24897, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3236699

Ceren Baysan (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Marshall Burke

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics ( email )

Casilla 76
Correo 17
Santiago
Chile

Solomon Hsiang

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

2607 Hearst Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720-7320
United States

HOME PAGE: http://gspp.berkeley.edu/directories/faculty/solomon-hsiang

National Bureau of Economic Research ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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