Criminal Recruitment or Victimization: The Effects of the Mexican Drug War on Education

22/12/2017 15:00


Using a novel data set, which we have constructed usingMexican municipal sources, containing measures of violence,victimization, detention, and educational outcomes, we estimatethe effects of criminal recruitment and exposure to violence onhigh school dropouts in Mexico during the War on Drugs. Ouridentification strategy deals with two potential sources ofreverse causality. First, exogenous variation in violence causedby increasing Colombian cocaine-seizure rates is exploited tohandle a potential two-way relationship between education andviolence. Second, possible bidirectional causation betweeneducation and recruitment is addressed through a matchingprocedure that exploits the variation in detected criminalrecruitment across municipalities exhibiting similar educationaloutcomes. At the national level, we estimate that between11,900 and 24,400 students dropped out from high school outof exposure to violence effects. As for recruitment effects, weestimate that they represented between 7,250 and 8,416dropouts over the 2007-2010 period.