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Economic and Non-Economic Factors in Violence: Evidence from Organized Crime, Suicides and Climate in Mexico

Ceren Baysan, Marshall Burke, Felipe GonzaÌ lez, Solomon Hsiang and Edward Miguel
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Ceren Baysan: Harvard University
Marshall Burke: Stanford University
Felipe GonzaÌ lez: Pontificia Universidad CatoÌ lica de Chile
Solomon Hsiang: University of California Berkeley
Edward Miguel: University of California Berkeley

No 292, HiCN Working Papers from Households in Conflict Network

Abstract: Organized intergroup violence is almost universally modeled as a calculated act motivated by economic factors. In contrast, it is generally assumed that non-economic factors, such as an individual’s emotional state, play a role in many types of inter- personal violence, such as “crimes of passion.†We ask whether economic or non- economic factors better explain the well-established relationship between temperature and violence in a unique context where intergroup killings by drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) and “normal†interpersonal homicides are separately documented. A constellation of evidence, including the limited influence of a cash transfer program as well as comparison with both other DTO crime and suicides, indicate that economic factors only partially explain the observed relationship between temperature and violence. We argue that noneconomic psychological and physiological factors that are affected by temperature, modeled here as a “taste for violence,†likely play an important role in causing both interpersonal and intergroup violence.

Keywords: violence; climate; income; psychology; suicide JEL Classification: O1; Q51; Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env
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