Policy Enforcement in the Presence of Organized Crime: Evidence from Rio de Janeiro

44 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2020 Last revised: 2 Feb 2023

See all articles by Alexsandros Cavgias

Alexsandros Cavgias

Ghent University

Raphael Bruce

Insper Institute of Education and Research

Luis Meloni

University of São Paulo

Date Written: October 22, 2021

Abstract

How does territorial control by organized crime groups affect the enforcement of public poli- cies? We answer this question by studying the enforcement of social distancing policies in Rio de Janeiro during the COVID-19 crisis. Two criminal groups with distinct governance have de facto control over several areas of the city: drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and paramilitary groups (PGs). While the former funds itself mainly through the drug business the second obtains most of its profits from extortion and illegal commerce of public services to citizens within their territories. This induces different responses to policies that reduce economic activity, such as those enacted in the pandemic. We document that in areas con- trolled by PGs, distancing was smaller than in government-ruled areas. On the other hand, DTOs’ turfs had similar social distancing to places controlled by the government.

Keywords: Organized crime, policy enforcement, state capacity, COVID-19

JEL Classification: K42, I12, O17, R50

Suggested Citation

Cavgias, Alexsandros and Bruce, Raphael and Meloni, Luis, Policy Enforcement in the Presence of Organized Crime: Evidence from Rio de Janeiro (October 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3678840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3678840

Alexsandros Cavgias

Ghent University ( email )

Coupure Links 653
Ghent, 9000
Belgium

Raphael Bruce (Contact Author)

Insper Institute of Education and Research ( email )

R Quata 300
Sao Paulo, 04542-030
Brazil

Luis Meloni

University of São Paulo ( email )

São Paulo, São Paulo
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://luismeloni.com

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
942
Abstract Views
4,430
Rank
46,041
PlumX Metrics