Skip to main content


Log in

Violence and electoral competition: criminal organizations and municipal candidates in Mexico

  • Published:
Trends in Organized Crime Aims and scope Submit manuscript


This article evaluates the effects of violence related to the operations of drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) on electoral competition, defined by the number of electoral alternatives or candidates in Mexico’s municipal elections. I find that the killing and threatening of politicians, which are effective tools to influence politics, jeopardizes competition in violent Mexican municipalities by reducing the number of candidates. This result is not only probabilistically robust but also meaningful. The number of candidates can fall to one in the more violent municipalities. However, DTOs can also provide (illegal) funding to politicians to facilitate their candidacies. I find that as confrontation intensifies among DTOs, the negative effect of violence on electoral competition moderates. This finding suggests that DTOs finance candidates to capture municipal governments when facing intense competition and attacks from other DTOs. In addition, DTOs in this context may also provide protection to their preferred candidates from other competing organizations. These factors temper the negative effect of violence on electoral competition.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Electoral competitiveness grows as main parties’ electoral support becomes relatively more equal (Sartori 1976).

  2. For thorough analysis on the increasing importance of domestic markets for cartels in Mexico and Colombia, consult Durán-Martínez (2015b).

  3. Online Appendix A includes several cases of candidates and mayors who were funded by DTOs. The Online Appendices can be found at the following web page:

  4. Consult Phillips (2015) for a more detailed explanation of the motives of DTOs in Mexico. Unlike the guerrillas in Colombia or terrorist groups in other countries that aspire to political changes at the national scale and are ideologically driven, DTOs are much more pragmatic organizations that mainly pursue economic profits, and their interference in politics is instrumental to secure or increase their economic gains (Koivu 2015; Phillips 2015; Williams 2012).

  5. The number of homicides (and homicide rates) is the measure most frequently employed by studies on violence. The main advantage of this measure is its consistency and simplicity on how rates of violence are calculated across time (Buvinic and Morrison 1999; Eisner 2012; Indermaur 1996). There exist other (less frequently employed) measures of violence such as victimization surveys, reports from the police or the healthcare sector, and estimations of the number of healthy years lost as a product of violence (Buvinic and Morrison 1999). However, surveys about victimization and health reports tend to under-report the number of violent events occurred, and calculations based on the number of years lost in adequate health become too complex to accomplish (Buvinic and Morrison 1999).

  6. Dataset gathered by the Drug Policy Program at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE-PPD)

  7. For more information regarding the construction of this dataset, see Atuesta et al. (2016). The dataset is available at

  8. The Calderón administration also created a new Federal Police force and the new Federal Ministerial Police (Astorga and Shirk 2010).

  9. For instance, the Mexican government claims to have killed or arrested twenty leaders of DTOs between 2007 and 2010 (Pereyra 2012).

  10. For instance, Lessing (2015) argues that criminal organizations aim to influence state’s behavior to favor the implementation of desired policy.

  11. Eck and Gersh (2000) refer to low levels of violence and a monopolistic structure of the drug market as ‘concentrated industry’.

  12. Once the number of electoral alternatives is altered, DTOs may continue influencing electoral results by increasing the concentration of votes for their preferred candidates. Consult Ponce (2016a) for a description of these tactics.

  13. Online Appendix B shows several examples of assassinated candidates during recent campaigns for municipal elections.

  14. An illustrative example corresponds to what happened in the State of Guerrero in 2012 where DTOs threatened 15 candidates for mayors. As a consequence, these candidates decided to abandon their campaigns (La Policiaca 2012). These were former candidates in the municipalities of Tierra Caliente, Zona Norte, and Montaña in the State of Guerrero.

  15. Online Appendix C lists examples of assassinated mayors during recent years. In addition, the Universal newspaper counted that there were 52 mayors assassinated, 44 mayors’ relatives killed, 5 candidates murdered, and 70 former mayors assassinated between 2005 and 2016 (see

  16. There are some differences in the strength of party identification across Mexican political parties. While the PAN possesses this advantage over its competitors in some states of the north of the country, the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) have such advantage in some states of the south. The Partido de la Revolución Institucional (PRI) holds such advantages in most municipalities throughout Mexico (Klesner 2012; Somuano 2014).

  17. For example, the PRD warned that DTOs could place “their” candidates in the 2014 local elections in several municipalities of seven violent states where the concentration of DTOs was greatest: Jalisco, Michoacán, Colima, Guerrero, Morelos, State of Mexico, and Guanajuato. The PRD requested that the National Electoral Institute (INE) and the Secretary of Governance intervene to prevent this criminal intrusion in politics (Quadratín Michoacán 2014). Online Appendix A shows examples of illegal financing to municipal candidates or subnational parties.

  18. For instance, Sberna and Olivieri (2014) confirm that there is abundant evidence of collusion between candidates or elected officials and criminal groups both at subnational and national levels.

  19. This periodicity ensures the inclusion of at least one observation (one election) per each municipality. Data for most Oaxacan municipalities is not available for most of the independent variables used in the analyses. Unfortunately, this fact reduces the number of available observations. For some municipalities, it was possible to include more than one observation since municipal elections occur every third year (dependent on the electoral calendars that vary across states). Of course, this selection is random because it is determined exogenously by the electoral calendar. Even when one of these observations is dropped (when there are two observations per municipality), empirical support for both hypotheses is also valid and robust.

  20. During the analyzed period, in approximately 55% of observations, violence disappeared at some moment between December 2006 and November 2011 (prior to the municipal election). As stated above, violence is highly concentrated in some territories, but it is also volatile: it disappeared in some areas and grew rapidly in others during this period. Appendix 1 presents descriptive statistics of the variables used in analyses. Appendix 2 provides descriptions and definitions of variables used in analyses.

  21. The Gini coefficient is commonly employed to measure the degree of inequality to compare units of analysis (Creedy 1998). It takes values that range from 0 in cases of perfect equality to 1 in cases of perfect inequality. The Gini coefficient is less likely to underestimate the segments with lower values than other concentration measures such as Laakso-Taagepera or Herfindahl-Hirschman (Avila et al. 2012; Hall and Tideman 1967).

  22. Studies measuring electoral competitiveness commonly employ the difference in percentages of votes between the first and the second place in an electoral contest (Blais 2000; De Feo and De Luca 2017; Endersby et al. 2002). Unlike the difference in percentages of votes, the Gini coefficient -- as a measure of electoral competitiveness -- takes into account the distribution of votes for all candidates in the contest.

  23. These municipalities were, however, included to test the first hypothesis as they can serve as a quasi-control group for examining the effects of violence on electoral competition. In testing the second hypothesis, their inclusion could produce bias in the results as DTOs are very unlikely to be present in these territories. Certainly, these regions do not help test the effects of the dynamics of competition (monopoly or several competitors) among DTOs on the number of candidates as DTOs do not operate in these territories.

  24. As additional robustness checks, I first assess whether variations in local electoral rules are able to change previous results. There are a few states where the election of municipal councilmen employs a different electoral formula (proportional representation). These states are Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Morelos, Puebla, Estado de México, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz. For this purpose, I include a dummy variable to examine whether or not this variable is statistically significant, and more importantly, whether or not this variable modifies previous results. I find it does not change previous results. Online Appendix D displays in its first three models the average marginal effects of the independent variables.

    Second, I introduce a variable that counts the number of times the PRI lost in the last four municipal elections. Since the PRI ruled Mexico for several decades before they lost the presidential elections in 2000, there could be authoritarian enclaves in which incentives for other candidates to run might be weak. I used the CIDAC Database to construct this variable. Model specifications from 4 to 9 in Online Appendix D display these results. The inclusion of this variable does not change previous results either. These additional control variables change neither the statistical significance of the key independent variables nor their magnitudes in relevant amounts.

    Third, I control for regional heterogeneity. For this purpose, I include three dummy variables to account for the spatial location of the Mexican states: municipalities in states sharing a border with the United States, municipalities in states that border the Pacific Ocean, and municipalities in states that border the Gulf of Mexico. In particular, these locations are usually employed by DTOs to transport illegal products to the United States. Their inclusion does not change previous results. The last three model specifications of Online Appendix D present these outcomes. These last specifications in Online Appendix D put together all these additional control variables.

    Finally, in Online Appendix E, I include an additional control variable that quantifies the number of assassinations of candidates and/or other attacks against local politicians when at least one homicide occurred. I employed the Drug Policy Program at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) to construct this variable. This exercise becomes helpful as it proves that successful attacks on politicians reduce electoral competition. It helps isolate the impact of one of the arguments (killings of politicians) that supports the validity of Hypothesis 1.

  25. I employ the first specification of Table 2 to calculate these expected values of the number of candidates.


  • Acemoglu D, Robinson J, Santos R (2013) The Monopoly of Violence: Evidence from Colombia. Journal of European Economic Association 11(1):5–44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Aksoy D (2014) Elections and the Timing of Terrorist Attacks. The Journal of Politics 76(4):899–913

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Albarracín J (2016) Criminalized Electoral Politics in Brazilian Urban Peripheries. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Latin American Studies Association, New York, NY, USA

  • Alesina A, Piccolo S, Pinotti P (2016) Organized Crime, Violence, and Politics. Available at

  • Astorga L (2007) Seguridad, Traficantes y Militares: el Poder y la Sombra. Tusquets, Mexico City

    Google Scholar 

  • Astorga L, Shirk D (2010) Drug trafficking and counter-drug strategies in the us-mexican context. USMEX WP 10–01

  • Atuesta L, Ponce AF (2017) Meet the Narco: Increased Competition among Criminal Organisations and the Explosion of Violence in Mexico. Global Crime Availaable at

  • Atuesta L, Siordia O, Madrazo A (2016) La 'Guerra Contra las Drogas en México: Registros (oficiales) de eventos durante el periodo de diciembre 2006 a noviembre 2011, Technical document, Drug Policy Program, CIDE

  • Avila F, Flores E, López-Gallo F, Márquez J (2012) Concentration Indicators: Assessing the Gap between Aggregate and Detailed Data. Article presented at the Conference of the Irving Fisher Committee, Basel, August 28–29. Available at

  • Bailey J, Flores-Macías G (2007) Violent Crime and Democracy: Mexico in Comparative Perspective. Article presented at the Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, USA

  • Bailey J, Taylor M (2009) Evade, Corrupt, or Confront? Organized Crime and the State in Brazil and Mexico. Journal of Politics in Latin America 1(2):3–29

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blais A (2000) To Vote or Not to Vote? The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Block D (2014) Crime and Punishment? Violence and Incumbent Party Support in Mexico’s Municipal and Federal Elections, 2001–2012. Article presented at the Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, USA

  • Bratton M (2008) Vote Buying and Violence in Nigerian Elections. Elect Stud 27(4):621–632

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buvinic M, Morrison A (1999) How is Violence Measured? Inter-American Development Bank. Working Paper

  • Cabrero E, Arellano D (2011) Los gobiernos municipales a debate. Un análisis de la institución municipal a través de la encuesta INEGI 2009. México: CIDE

  • Cadena Montenegro JL (2010) Geopolítica del Narcotráfico. México y Colombia: La Equivocación en el Empleo de las Fuerzas Militares. Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales 52(210):45–58

    Google Scholar 

  • Calderón G, Robles G, Díaz-Cayeros A, Magaloni B (2015) The Beheading of DTOs and the Dynamics of Violence in Mexico’s Drug War. J Confl Resolut 59(8):20–1485

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Caro V (2013) Political Competition amid Violence: Evidence from Colombia. Doctoral dissertation, University of Houston

  • Carvajal-Dávila R (1998) Todo lo que Debería Saber sobre el Crimen Organizado en México. Editorial Océano, México

    Google Scholar 

  • Casas-Zamora K (2010) Mexico’s Forever War. Foreign Policy, December 23. Available at

  • Chabat J (1994) Seguridad Nacional y Narcotráfico: Vínculos Reales e Imaginarios. Política y Gobierno 1(1):97–123

    Google Scholar 

  • Chabat J (2005) Narcotráfico y Estado: El Discreto Encanto de la Corrupción. Letras Libres, Septiembre, 14–17

  • Chabat J (2010) La Respuesta del Gobierno de Calderón al Desafío del Narcotráfico: Entre lo Malo y lo Peor. CIDE Working Paper 196

  • Chacón M (2013) In the Line of Fire: Political Violence and Decentralization in Colombia. Working Paper. NYU-Abu Dhabi. Available at

  • Chaturvedi A (2005) Rigging Elections with Violence. Public Choice 125(1/2):189–202

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Collier P, Vicente P (2012) Violence, Bribery, and Fraud: The Political Economy of Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa. Public Choice 153(1):117–147

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Collier P, Vicente P (2014) Votes and Violence: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria. Econ J 124(574):327–355

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Corcorán P (2011) Guatemalan Mayoral Candidate Killed. InSight Crime, Investigation and Analysis of Organized Crime. June, 17. Available at:

  • Cox G (1997) Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World’s Electoral Systems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Creedy J (1998) The Dynamics of Inequality and Poverty: Comparing Income Distributions. Edward Elgar, Northhampton

    Google Scholar 

  • Dal Bó E, Dal Bó P, Di Tella R (2006) Plata or Plomo? Bribe and Punishment in a Theory of Political Influence. Am Polit Sci Rev 100(1):41–53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Daniele V (2009) Organized Crime and Regional Development: A Review of the Italian Case. Trends in Organized Crime 12(3):211–234

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Daniele V (2017) Strike One to Educate One Hundred: Organized Crime, Political Selection and Politicians’ Ability. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Online First at:

  • Daniele V, Dipoppa G (2017) Mafia, Elections, and Violence Against Politicians. J Public Econ 154:10–33

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Daniele V, Geys B (2015) Organised Crime, Institutions and Political Quality: Empirical Evidence from Italian Municipalities. Econ J 125(586):233–255

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Feo G, De Luca G (2017) Mafia in the Ballot Box. Am Econ J Econ Pol 9(3):134–167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dell M (2015) Trafficking Networks and the Mexican Drug War. Am Econ Rev 105(6):1738–1779

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dercon S, Gutiérrez-Romero R (2012) Triggers and Characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan Electoral Violence. World Dev 40(4):731–744

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dickenson M (2014) The Impact of Leadership Removal on Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations. J Quant Criminol 30(4):651–676

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Durán-Martínez A (2015a) To Kill and Tell? State Power, Criminal Competition, and Drug Violence. J Confl Resolut:1–27

  • Durán-Martínez A (2015b) Drugs around the Corner: Domestic Drug Markets and Violence in Colombia and Mexico. Latin American Politics and Society 57(3):122–146

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eck J, Gersh J (2000) Drug Trafficking as a Cottage Industry. In Illegal Drug Markets: From Research to Prevention Policy NY: Criminal Justice Press

  • Eisner M (2012) What Causes Large-scale Variation in Homicide Rates? University of Cambridge, Working Paper

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ellman M, Wantchekon L (2000) Electoral Competition under the Threat of Political Unrest. Q J Econ 115(2):499–531

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Endersby J, Galatas S, Rackaway C (2002) Closeness counts in Canada: voter participation in the 1993 and 1997 federal elections. J Polit 64:610–631

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Feddersen T, Sened I, Wright S (1990) Rational Voting and Candidate Entry under Plurality Rule. Am J Polit Sci 34(4):1005–1016

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Flores C (2009) El Estado en Crisis: Crimen Organizado y Política. Desafíos para la Consolidación Democrática México: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores de Antropología Social

  • Flores C (2012) La lógica del Botín: De la Cooptación del Estado y el Estado ‘Fallido’. Arenas: Revista Sinaloense de Ciencias Sociales 13(30):11–44

    Google Scholar 

  • García M, Hoskin G (2003) Political Participation and War in Colombia: An Analysis of the 2002 Elections. Working Paper No. 38. London School of Economics. Crisis States Program. Retrieved from

  • Gault D, Cabrero E, Montiel M, Aguilar I (2011) Gobierno y Administración Pública Municipal: Un Panorama de Fragilidad Institucionalizada. In: Los Gobiernos Municipales a Debate. Un Análisis de la Institución Municipal a Través de la Encuesta INEGI 2009. Mexico City: CIDE, pp. 29–116

  • Gibson E (2005) Boundary Control: Subnational Authoritarianism in Democratic Countries. World Politics 58:101–132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giraudy A (2010) The Politics of Subnational Undemocratic Regime Reproduction in Argentina and Mexico. The Journal of Politics in Latin America 2(2):53–84

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guerrero Gutiérrez, E (2009) Narcotráfico, s.a. Nexos, January 1. Available at Available from

  • Guerrero Gutiérrez, E (2010) Cómo Reducir la Violencia en México. Nexos, November 1. Available from

  • Guerrero Gutiérrez, E (2011) La Raíz de la Violencia. Nexos, June 1. Available from

  • Hall M, Tideman N (1967) Measures of Concentration. J Am Stat Assoc 62(317):162–168

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Indermaur D (1996) Violent Crime in Australia: Interpreting the Trends. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, Australian Institute of Criminology

  • Klesner J (2012) Regionalism in Mexican Electoral Politics. In: The Oxford Handbook of Mexican Politics. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 622–648

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Koivu K (2015) In the Shadow of the State: Mafias and Illicit Markets. Comp Polit Stud 49(2):155–183

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • La Policiaca (2012) No Aparece Marcelo Avila; 15 Candidatos, Amenazados: PRI Guerrero. June 26. Available at

  • Lessing B (2015) Logics of Violence in Criminal War. J Confl Resolut 59(8):1486–1516

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ley S (2017) To Vote or not to Vote: How Criminal Violence Shapes Electoral Participation. Journal of Conflict Revolution 1–28. Online First at:

  • Long S (1997) Regression Models for Categorical and Limited Dependent Variables. Sage, Thousand Oaks

    Google Scholar 

  • Luna S (2016) Dos Alcaldes y Tres Concejales Asesinados en 2016. El Salvador, July, 10. Available at:

  • Méndez de Hoyos I (2012) Coaliciones Preelectorales y Competencia Partidista en México a Nivel Federal y Local (1994-2011). Política y Gobierno 19(2):147–198

    Google Scholar 

  • Mickey R (2009) Paths out of Dixie: The Democratization of Authoritarian Enclaves in America’s Deep South. Princeton University Press, Princeton

    Google Scholar 

  • Montero A (2010) No Country for Leftists? Clientelist Continuity and the 2006 Vote in the Brazilian Northeast. Journal of Politics in Latin America 2(2):113–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Montero JC (2012) La Estrategia contra el Crimen Organizado en México: Análisis del Diseño de la Política Pública. Perfiles Latinoamericanos 20(39):7–30

    Google Scholar 

  • Moro F, Petrella A, Sberna S (2016) The Politics of Mafia Violence: Explaining Variation in Mafia Killings in Southern Italy (1983-2008). Terrorism and Political Violence 28(1):90–113

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • O’Donnell G (1993) On the State, Democratization, and Some Conceptual Problems: A Latin American View with Glances at Some Post-Communist Countries. World Dev 21(8):1355–1369

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Osorio J (2015) The Contagion of Drug Violence: Spatiotemporal Dynamics of the Mexican War on Drugs. J Confl Resolut 58(8):1403–1432

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pereyra G (2012) México: Violencia Criminal y ‘Guerra Contra el Narcotráfico’. Rev Mex Sociol 74(3):429–460

    Google Scholar 

  • Phillips B (2015) How Does Leadership Decapitation Affect Violence? The Case of Drug Trafficking Organizations in Mexico. J Polit 77(2):324–336

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pinotti P (2012) Organized Crime, Violence, and the Quality of Politicians: Evidence from Southern Italy. Paolo Baffi Centre Research No. 2012–124

  • Ponce AF (2016a) Cárteles de Droga, Violencia y Competitividad Electoral a Nivel Local: Evidencia del Caso Mexicano. Lat Am Res Rev 51(4):62–85

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ponce AF (2016b) From freedom to repression and violence: the evolution of drug policy in Peru. In: In drug policies and the politics of drugs in the Americas. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland

    Google Scholar 

  • Quadratín-Michoacán (2014) Ante SEGOB e INE, Pide Sol Azteca Frenar Narco-campañas. Available at

  • Reveles J (2011) El Cártel Incómodo: el Fin de los Beltrán. Grijalvo, México

    Google Scholar 

  • Ríos V (2010) To Be or Not To Be a Drug Trafficker: Modeling Criminal Occupational Choices. Article presented at the Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, USA

  • Ríos V (2012) How Government Structure Encourages Criminal Violence: The Causes of Mexico’s Drug War. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University

  • Ríos V (2015) How Government Coordination Controlled Organized Crime: The Crime of Mexico’s Cocaine Markets. J Confl Resolut 59(8):1433–1454

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ríos V, Shirk D (2011) Drug Violence in Mexico. Data and Analysis through 2010. Special Report, Trans-Border Institute, University of San Diego

  • Sánchez F, Palau M (2006) Conflict, Decentralisation, and Local Governance in Colombia, 1974–2000. CEDE Universidad de los Andes, Working Paper 2006–46

  • Sartori G (1976) Parties and Party Systems. Cambridge University Press, A Framework for Analysis. Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Sberna S (2011) Electoral Competition and Criminal Violence in Italy (1983–2003). Article presented at the ECPR Joint Session Conference Workshop on “Political Institutions and Conflict”, St Gallen, Switzerland

  • Sberna S, Olivieri E (2014) Set the Night on Fire! Mafia Violence and Elections in Italy. Article presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association

  • Snyder R, Durán-Martínez A (2009) Does Illegality Breed Violence? Drug Trafficking and State-Sponsored Protection Tracks. Crime Law Soc Chang 52(3):253–273

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Somuano F (2014) Las Identidades Partidistas de los Mexicanos y la Elección del 95 In El Comportamiento Electoral Mexicano en las Elecciones de 2012. Mexico, DF: Centro de Estudios Sociales y de Opinión Pública, pp 117–140

  • Spring K (2013) Context of the Honduran Electoral Process 2012–2013: Incomplete List of Killings and Armed Attacks Related to Political Campaigning in Honduras. Rights Action. Available at:

  • Taylor S (2009) Voting Amid Violence. Electoral Democracy in Colombia. Northeastern University Press, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  • Tilley N, Hopkins M (2008) Organized Crime and Local Businesses. Criminology and Criminal Justice 8(4):443–459

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trejo G, Ley S (2015) Municipios Bajo Fuego (1995–2014). Nexos, February 1

  • Trejo G, Ley S (2016) Federalismo, Drogas y Violencia. Por qué el Conflicto Partidista Intergubernamental Estimuló la Violencia del Narcotráfico en México Política y Gobierno 21(1):11–56

    Google Scholar 

  • Trejo G, Ley S (2017) Why did drug cartels go to war in Mexico? Subnational party alternation, the breakdown of criminal protection, and the onset of large-scale violence. Comparative Political Studies 1–38

  • Trelles A, Carreras M (2012) Bullets and Votes: Violence and Electoral Participation in Mexico. Journal of Politics in Latin America 4(2):89–123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Villarreal A (2002) Political Competition and Violence in Mexico: Hierarchical Social Control in Local Patronage. Am Sociol Rev 67(4):477–498

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wantchekon L (1999) On the Nature of First Democratic Elections. J Confl Resolut 43(2):245–258

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilkinson S (2004) Votes and Violence: Electoral Competition and Ethnic Riots in India. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Williams P (2012) The Terrorism Debate over Mexican Drug Trafficking Violence. Terrorism and Political Violence 24(2):259–278

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wilson J, Petersilia J (2011) Crime and Public Policy. Oxford University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Zovatto D (2000) Estudio Comparado de las Características Jurídicas y Prácticas del Financiamiento de los Partidos Políticos y las Campañas Electorales en América Latina. Paraná Eleitoral. Curitiba: PR 37:97–138

    Google Scholar 

  • Zovatto D (2003) Dinero y Política en América Latina: Una Visión Comparada. International IDEA, Lima

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Aldo F. Ponce.

Electronic supplementary material


(DOCX 44 kb)


Appendix 1

Table 3 Descriptive statistics for variables used in analyses

Appendix 2

Table 4 Definition of variables used in analyses

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ponce, A.F. Violence and electoral competition: criminal organizations and municipal candidates in Mexico. Trends Organ Crim 22, 231–254 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: