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DRUGS, VIOLENCE, AND STATE-SPONSORED PROTECTION RACKETS IN MEXICO AND COLOMBIA

Keywords: protection rackets, drugs, violence, mexico, colombia.

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Abstract:

illegality does not necessarily breed violence. the relationship between illicit markets and violence depends on institutions of protection. when state-sponsored protection rackets form, illicit markets can be peaceful. conversely, the breakdown of state-sponsored protection rackets, which may result from well-meaning policy reforms intended to reduce corruption and improve law enforcement, can lead to violence. the cases of drug trafficking in contemporary mexico and colombia show how a focus on the emergence and breakdown of state-sponsored protection rackets helps explain variation in levels of violence both within and across illicit markets.

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