Mitigating Corruption in Government Security Forces

The Role of Institutions, Incentives, and Personnel Management in Mexico

by Beth J. Asch, Nicholas Burger, Mary Manqing Fu

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Mexico has undertaken reforms in recent years to professionalize its police. This report draws on the literature on corruption and personnel incentives and analyzes information related to police reform in Mexico. It addresses questions about the roots of corruption and the tools that could be used to mitigate corruption, with a focus on compensation and personnel management policies. It also provides an initial assessment about the effects of Mexico's attempts at reform. The results suggest progress on some fronts. Although police corruption has remained generally stable at a high level, compared with corruption levels in other organizations, it appears to have fallen. The types of reforms being introduced are consistent with the literature on incentive mechanisms for effective workforce management, though evidence is absent on their effectiveness. The authors argue that continuity in elected officials and their policies, coordination within and between levels of government, and transparency and accountability can contribute to reducing police corruption.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Insights from the Literature

  • Chapter Three

    Mexico's Police Reforms

  • Chapter Four

    Empirical Data on Corruption and Inputs to Professionalism in the Mexican Security Services

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions

This report is a product of the RAND Corporation's continuing program of self-initiated independent research. Support for such research is provided, in part, by donors and by the independent research and development provisions of RAND's contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers. The research was conducted jointly within the RAND National Security Research Division and RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment.

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