Border crossings from Mexico to the U.S. and the role of border homicides

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This paper examines northbound crossings of personal vehicles and pedestrians from Mexico to the U.S. Sample size from January 1997 to December 2019 includes the period after December 2006 when then inaugurated Mexican government announced the “war on drugs”. We construct a series of border homicide share, which stands for the allocation of homicides in border states relative to the total of Mexican homicides. The series runs from between 15 to 20% to its peak of 48% in 2010 and its recent stabilization with less than 25%. We argue that this represents the intensity of violent crime spread throughout the Mexican border with the U.S., which is the geographic focus of research on border crossings. Employing structural vector autoregressions (SVAR), we estimate a model with homicide share, industrial production and border crossings. We compare the responses of this model to the pure economic model with the real exchange rate. We conclude that the response of border crossings to shocks in industrial production is about the same (positive and statistically significant) across models. However, while border crossings of vehicles and pedestrians respond negatively to positive shocks in border homicides the response of vehicles is prolonged and for pedestrians is immediate.


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Crime, Law and Social Change