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Networks of Fear: The Dynamics of Extortion in Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency


Soldiers run as they start a military operation at the military base in Morelia, state of Michoacan July 20, 2009. Hundreds of heavily armed soldiers set up roadblocks on major highways on Saturday in President Felipe Calderon's home state, where drug gangs have stepped up attacks on Mexican security forces.
Photo credit: 
REUTERS/Eliana Aponte


Principal Investigator
Senior Fellow
  • Associate Professor, Political Science
PovGov Pre-doctoral Fellow
CDDRL Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012-13
Senior Fellow
  • Professor, by courtesy, Political Science
Visiting Scholar
Visiting Associate Professor, 2012-2013

We study the dynamics and logic of extortion in Mexico’s drug war. Mexican drug trafficking organizations have diversified into a host of other illicit activities, protection rackets, oil and fuel theft, kidnapping, human smuggling, prostitution, money laundering, weapons trafficking, auto theft and domestic drug sales. The project seeks to measure, through the use of list-experiments, patterns of extortion by both criminal organization and the police, and the extent to which drug cartels coopt civil society and become embedded in the social fabric.

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