POLS Seminar: Miguel Carreras (University of California)



Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences




Who Pays for Crime? Criminal Violence and Accountability in Latin America 



Miguel Carreras 

(University of California) 

January 07 2020  13:00-14:30


Abstract: Are political parties located on different sides of the left-right spectrum equally punished for failures in public security? Against conventional wisdom, we show that right-wing parties that “own” the crime issue are less likely to be sanctioned after crime shocks. We label this process reverse partisan accountability. Specifically, we hold that right-wing incumbents might be immune to crime spikes for two main reasons: i) performance failures might be attributed to exogenous factors or bad luck rather than a lack of ability, and ii) the alternative candidates (i.e., left-wing and centrist challengers) might still be deemed less competent at addressing crime since valence attributes are sticky. We use local crime and electoral data from Chile and Mexico and a difference-in-differences design to illustrate the heterogeneous effects of crime shocks. We also provide survey evidence from 18 Latin American countries to improve external validity. The findings have important implications for understanding the electoral consequences of crime.