The Role of Public Security Reforms on Violent Crime Dynamics

11 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2024

See all articles by Danilo Souza

Danilo Souza


Mateus Maciel

University of Tübingen; Research School of International Taxation (RSIT)

Date Written: March 14, 2024


In the context of increasing violence, public security reforms are commonly advocated as a solution to the problem despite the lack of empirical evidence. We address this question by evaluating the effect of the Pacto pela Vida program, a comprehensive reform on the public security of the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. We document a reduction of 16 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants following the program implementation. We show that a reduction in crimes occurring on the streets and associated with young males and firearm availability are likely to have contributed to the program’s effect.

Keywords: Crime, reform, policy evaluation, Brazil

JEL Classification: H76, K42, R58

Suggested Citation

Souza, Danilo and Maciel, Mateus, The Role of Public Security Reforms on Violent Crime Dynamics (March 14, 2024). Available at SSRN: or

Danilo Souza (Contact Author)

FEA-USP ( email )

Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto 908
São Paulo SP, São Paulo 05508-900
+55 (11) 3091-6062 (Phone)

Mateus Maciel

University of Tübingen ( email )

Mohlstrasse 36

Research School of International Taxation (RSIT) ( email )

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