UCL Institute of the Americas


Building the Modern State in Developing Countries: Security and Taxes in Mexico

09 March 2017, 6:15 pm

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UCL Institute of the Americas


UCL Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PN

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Gustavo Flores-Macias (Cornell) - This talk provides novel micro-level evidence of the relationship between two central aspects of state capacity, taxation and the provision of law and order. Drawing on an original nationally-representative survey conducted in the context of Mexico's war on drugs, we estimate through a novel technique the size of the fiscal sacrifice citizens are willing to make to improve public safety, and investigate the determinants of attitudes towards heavier taxation for this end.

Contrary to expectations from the literatures on victimization and state intervention as risk mitigation, we find that willingness to pay taxes to reduce crime is driven by perceptions of nationwide public safety: those with more intense feelings of insecurity are less inclined to pay.

Dr. Gustavo Flores-Macias is an Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University. His research focuses on two main areas: 1) the politics of economic reform, and 2) taxation and state capacity. Work related to these interests has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Democracy, Journal of Politics, Peace Review, Political Science Quarterly, Studies in Comparative International Development, and as chapters in edited volumes. His book, After Neoliberalism? The Left and Economic Reforms in Latin America (Oxford University Press 2012), studies the economic policies of left-of-center governments in Latin America, focusing on the role that party systems play in facilitating or hindering economic transformations. The book won the Latin American Studies Association Tomassini Award in 2014.