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Drug Cartel, Mexican Drug War


Soon after Felipe Calderon became president of Mexico, he drastically changed the country's policy concerning drug cartels and drug trade. The policy moved from destroying production of drugs, such as burning poppy and marijuana fields, to an attack on the organization of the Drug Cartels. Opponents of this action, argue that the policy has been ineffective in reducing drug flow, but has only increased violence. One argument made for the increasing violence is that the killing of drug cartel leaders leads to fractionalization and competition within the cartel. This fractionalization then leads to violence as different members of the cartel fight for power. By examining time series data and determining if there are any breaks when a drug cartel leader is captured or killed, I find that the data changes significantly. However, I do not find that it increases like the hypothesis claims. To confirm this finding I test the data of captured or killed cartel leaders in a random effects panel model. I find that the killing or capturing of cartel leaders actually leads to a statistically significant decrease in the number of executions.


The Annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Research Conference showcases some of the best student research from the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. The mentored learning program encourages undergraduate students to participate in hands-on and practical research under the direction of a faculty member. Students create these posters as an aide in presenting the results of their research to the public, faculty, and their peers.

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Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Does Killing Drug Cartel Leaders Increase Violence in Mexico?