Drug trafficking, deterrence policies and violence in Mexico


  • Lenin Arango Castillo Université du Québec à Montréal




deterrence policy, crime organization, violence


This paper analyzes the levels of violence generated by the implementation of policies to discourage crime in an oligopolistic market and with a closed economy. Initially we analyze a policy of tolerance, in which criminal organizations select the level of violence necessary to stay in the drug market. Subsequently, we analyze a policy of fighting against organized crime: the results show that this policy reduces the number of criminal organizations, and increases profits for those organizations that remain on the market, while increasing drug production and violence. Finally, we discuss the hypothetical case of fighting demand for drugs.


Metrics Loading ...


Ballinas, V. 2010. Muertes de civiles en el combate al crimen, “daños colaterales”: Galván, La Jornada, www.jornada.unam.mx/2010/04/13/politica/005n1pol.

Becker, G. (1968). Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach, Journal of Political Economy, 76(2): 169-217.

Becker, G., K. Murphy y M. Grossman. 2006. The Market for Illegal Goods: The Case of Drugs, Journal of Political Economy, 114(1): 38-60.

Becker, G. y G. Stigler. 1974. Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers, The Journal of Legal Studies, 3(1): 1-18.

Buchanan, J. 1973. A Defense of Organized Crime, en S. Rottenberg (comp.) The Economics of Crime and Punishment, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, pp. 119132.

Burrus, R. 1999. Do Efforts to Reduce the Supply of Illicit Drugs Increase Turf War Violence? A Theorical Analysis, Journal of Economics and Finance, 23: 226-234.

Chabat, J. 2010. La respuesta del gobierno de Felipe Calderón al desafío del narcotráfico entre lo malo y lo peor, en A. Alvarado y M. Serrano (comps.), Los grandes problemas de México, seguridad nacional y seguridad interior, El Colegio de México, México, pp. 21-37.

Chris, P. y A. Wilhite. 1994. Illegal Markets and the Social Costs of RentSeeking, Public Choice, 79(1/2): 105-115.

Friedman, M. 1991. The War we’re Lossing, en Krauss, M. B. y E. P. Lazear (comps.), Searching for Alternatives: Drug-Control Policy in the United States, Stanford, Hoover Institution Press, pp. 53-67.

Garoupa, N. 2006. Optimal Law Enforcement and Criminal Organization, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 63(3): 461-474.

Grossman, H.I. 1995. Rival Kleptocrats: The Mafia versus the State, en G. Fiorentini y S. Peltzman (comps.), The Economics of Organised Crime, Cambridge University, pp. 143-160.

Jennings, W. P. 1984. A Note on the Economics of Organized Crime, Eastern Economic Journal, 10(3): 315-321.

León, G. 2010. En la lucha contra el narcotráfico han muerto 564 soldados: Sedena, La Jornada, www.jornada.unam.mx/2008/11/09/index.php?section=politica&article=009n2pol.

Mejía, D. y P. Restrepo. 2011. The War on Ilegal Drugs in Producer and Consumer Countries: A Simple Analytical Framework, Universidad de los Andes-CEDE, Documentos de trabajo CEDE, núm. 007960.

Miron, J. 1999. Violence and the U.S. Prohibitions of Drugs and Alcohol, American Law and Economics Review, Fall(1-2): 78-114.

Miron, J. 2001. Violence, Guns, and Drugs: A Cross-Country Analysis, Journal of Law and Economics, 2(2): 615-634.

Miron, J. 2004. Liberal verus Libertarian Views on Drug Legalization, S.B. Mastersen (comp.), The New Prohibition: Voices of Dissent Challenge the Drug War, Accurate Press.

Naranjo, A. 2004. Drugs Lords, Rebel Mouvements and Anti-Drug Policies in Sources Countries, Stockholm University, Research Papers in Economics, núm. 14.

Nisbet, T. y F. Vakil. 1972. Some Estimates of Price and Expenditure Elasticities among UCLA Students, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 54(4): 473- 475.

OEDT. 2007. Annual Report: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe, EMCDDA, Lisbon, www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/annual-report/2007.

ONU. 2008. Rapport mondial sur les drogues, Résumé analytique, www.unodc.org/documents/wdr/WDR_2008/wdr08_execsum_French.pdf.

Ours, J. V. 1995. The Price Elasticity of Hard Drugs: The Case of Opium in the Dutch East Indies, Journal of Political Economy, 103(2): 261-79.

Palacios, M. y M. Serrano. 2010. Colombia y México: las violencias del narcotráfico, en A. Alvarado y M. Serrano (comps.), Los grandes problemas de México, seguridad nacional y seguridad interior, El Colegio de México, México, pp. 105-150.

Ramos, J. 2010. Cisen: 28 mil muertos por guerra a narco, El Universal, www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/699304.html.

Roumasset, J. y J. Hadreas. 1977. Addicts, Fences, and the Market fo Stolen Goods, Public Finance Quarterly, 5(2): 247-272.

Sánchez, E. 2010. Aumenta nivel de violencia del narco, El Universal, www.eluniversal.com.mx/primera/34184.html.

SEDENA. 2010. Resultados de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional en el combate al narcotráfico y la delincuencia organizada. Informe técnico, Gobierno Federal, www.sedena.gob.mx/pdf/ocn/2010/22 07 10.pdf.

Shelling, T. 1971. What is the Business of Organized Crime? Journal of Public Law, 20: 71-84.

Silverman, L. y N. Spruill. 1977. Urban Crime and the Price of Heroin, Journal of Urban Economics, 4(1): 80-103.

Thornton, M. 2007. Prohibition versus Legalization: Do Economist Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy? The Independent Review, 11: 417-433.

Tranfaglia, N. 2010. Pourquoi la mafia a gagné, Collection: Histoires d’aujourdhui, Tallandier.



How to Cite

Arango Castillo, L. (2011). Drug trafficking, deterrence policies and violence in Mexico. Estudios Económicos De El Colegio De México, 26(2), 157–185. https://doi.org/10.24201/ee.v26i2.101