Dissertation Book Project: Rural Administration and Security in Latin America

What explains contemporary variation in rural insecurity in Latin America? Twentieth century Latin American states undertook diverse processes of peripheral administration, which included partnering with elite and non-elite local actors to co-produce local administration.

My project asks, how do politics shape the peripheral incorporation and administration strategies of partisan elites, and what are the consequences of these peripheral administration strategies for long-term security?

To answer these questions, I employ a multi-method approach, drawing on qualitative and quantitative evidence from Bolivia and Mexico.

Agrarian Corporatism, Social Control, and Criminal Violence: Evidence from Mexican Núcleos Agrarios. Dissertation Chapter.

Weak states employ various strategies to reach into their periphery, including using corporatist organizations to govern the rural poor and administer rural land. While corporatist organizations were generally designed to ensure state capture, these structures present additional legacies in the countryside, including for security. I advance a theory which argues that -- under certain conditions -- local organizational capacity preserved by corporatist organizations can improve security through substituting organizational capacity for state capacity to co-produce security. I test this theory drawing on data from Mexico's agrarian reform. I find that corporatist organizations endowed with two key traits -- participatory practice and social control -- better resisted increases in violence and cartel presence associated with Mexico's drug war. These findings have implications for a vast literature which studies the relationships between violence, property rights, and state capacity, as well as for contemporary security-building.