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Abstract

Assassinations of mayors, ex-mayors, and candidates for the office of mayor have been dramatically increasing in the Country of Mexico since the start of the Cartel Wars in 2006. The increased fragmentation and stress certain security initiatives have put on organized crime has caused cartels to reconsider the way in which they interact with domestic actors and communities. The objective of this paper is to determine if there is evidence of a relationship between mayoral assassination rates and Federal entities (states) with high numbers of select lootable resources. This theft could take the form of one or all activities related to resource exploitation such as direct theft for use, direct theft for black market sale, and extortion. The paper accomplishes this goal through a series of zero-inflated binomial regressions as well as other modeling methods in order to ensure the robustness of results. This paper finds evidence connecting mayoral assassinations to states with high profits from avocado growth and high numbers of illegal gas pipeline taps. This study fails to find a relationship between lootable mining resources and mayoral assassinations. This study also shows that previously thought to be salient factors connected to political assassinations in Mexico, such as political pluralization and the number of cartels active in an area, may not be as salient when it comes to determining mayoral assassinations. Overall, this study finds that some natural resource factors play a role in determining where cartels will choose to enact political violence at the local level.

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