From Pax Narcotica to Guerra Publica: Explaining Civilian Violence in Mexico’s Illicit Drug War

The end of the so-called pax narcótica and the escalation of violence in Mexico’s drug war since 2007 has had devastating consequences for the civilian population. This chapter begins with a short history of the conflict, a discussion of the government’s strategy to fight drug trafficking organizations, an overview of current levels of violence, and evidence of violence targeting noncombatant civilians. The chapter then describes previous attempts to explicate the elevated homicide rates since 2007 and offers formal models that try to explain the behavior of organized crime groups. It then builds a cooperative game to explain first why the pax narcótica may have broken down, and second why that breakdown entailed so many civilian casualties.

Publication Details:

  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Region/s:
  • Theme/s:
  • Method/s:
  • Working Paper version
  • Suggested citation:

    Ferguson, Neil T. N., McDougal, Topher L. and Michaelsen, Maren M. (2016). “From Pax Narcotica to Guerra Publica: Explaining Civilian Violence in Mexico’s Illicit Drug War.” In: J. Brauer and C. Anderton eds. Economic Aspects of Genocide, Mass Killing, and Their Prevention, Oxford University Press.