I heard a very interesting paper presented yesterday at the Comparative Politics Workshop at Stanford by Oendrila Dube who is visiting there from NYU. It is a thorough empirical analysis of the correlation between reform of Mexico’s agricultural sector over the last two decades and drug-related violence. The authors suggest a link between the passage of NAFTA as well as domestic policy reform to the price decline of corn in Mexico which in turn forced poor farmers to cultivate marijuana and even poppies for opium production. As cartels moved in violence escalated. This continues Professor Dube’s very interesting work connecting violence, economics and policy reform in places like Colombia and Sierra Leone.
The paper can be found here.