Event Detail

Itzel Haro de Lopez

Avocados: Mexico's green gold. The U.S. opioid crisis and its impact on Mexico's drug cartel violence

Presented by:
Itzel Haro de Lopez

Thursday, April 28, 2022
3:45 pm-5:00 pm
Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room (Rm103)
Online - https://go.wisc.edu/esfdvx

The global increase in the demand for avocados in Mexico has attracted the attention of rent-seeking criminal organizations. As a result, farmers and packing houses have become the targets of extortion from Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs). This paper aims to answer why DTOs would target licit businesses, such as avocados farms, rather than continue specializing in the production and distribution of illicit drugs. To do this, I exploit exogenous variation from changes in the demand for pure heroin in the U.S. between 2011 and 2019. In particular, I use the introduction of Fentanyl in the U.S. as a proxy for the reduction in the demand for pure heroin from Mexico to answer the following questions: i) Did a decrease in the U.S. demand for heroin increase cartel presence in avocado suitable municipalities? and ii) Did the introduction of Fentanyl lead to an increase in the number of murders and extortion cases in poppy and avocado suitable municipalities? The results show a positive correlation between Fentanyl overdoses in the U.S. and the murders of the general population and farmers in avocado suitable municipalities and a negative correlation between Fentanyl and crime in poppy suitable municipalities.