Who pays for crime? Criminal violence, right-wing incumbents, and electoral accountability in Latin America

Miguel Carreras, Giancarlo Visconti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Are right-wing incumbents punished for failures in public security? Partisan accountability models predict greater sanctions for politicians who fail to deliver on issues they “own.” According to this logic, right-wing incumbents should suffer more from crime spikes. Contrary to this expectation, we show that right-wing governments are not always punished for sudden increases in crime just before an election. We take advantage of rich local crime data in Chile and Mexico to identify places that experienced a crime shock, and use a difference-in-differences design to illustrate the heterogeneous electoral effects of public security failures. We also provide survey evidence from 18 Latin American countries to improve the external validity of the main findings. We hold that right-wing incumbents’ greater electoral resilience to crime spikes could be explained by voters attributing security failures to exogenous factors or by voters still perceiving left-wing and centrist challengers as less competent at addressing crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102522
JournalElectoral Studies
Volume79
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations

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