Impacts of Weather Shocks on Murder and Drug Cartel Violence in Mexico

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 4:00 PM
Edward Miguel, Solomon M Hsiang, Marshall Burke, Felipe Gonzalez and Ceren Baysan, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States
We estimate impacts of weather shocks on several dimensions of violence in Mexico during 1990-2010, using disaggregated data at the state-by-month level. Controlling for location and time fixed effects, we show that higher than normal temperatures lead to: (i) higher total murder rates, (ii) higher rates of drug cartel related murders, and (iii) higher suicide rates. The effects of high temperatures on inter-personal violence (murders) and on inter-group violence (drug cartel related murders) are large, statistically significant and similar to those found in other recent settings. The use of panel data econometric methods to examine the effect of weather on suicide incidence is novel. We assess the role of economic channels (i.e., agricultural production affected by weather) and conclude that they cannot account for most of the estimated impacts, suggesting that other mechanisms, including psychological explanations, are likely to be important in this setting.