The Impact of Reform on the Criminal Justice System in Mexico

by Luisa Blanco

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This paper studies the impact of judicial reform in Mexico. It does so using a survey about crime victimization and perceptions of insecurity (Encuesta Nacional Sobre la Inseguridad, ENSI) from 2005, 2008, and 2009 in eleven Mexican cities, three of which implemented the reform in 2007 and 2008. It shows judicial reform reduces victimization but also lowers perceptions of security. These results are robust when considering other subsamples that include only northern cities. In the northern cities, judicial reform is associated with lower trust and lower grades given to the local and preventive federal police. Judicial reform is associated with better grades for the agents of the Public Prosecution Office, although not in Juarez. Judicial reform is also associated with a decrease in bribery of the transit police in northern cities. Using crime level data, it finds a significant increase in crime reporting following judicial reform in Chihuahua but a decrease in Juarez. When considering the full sample, it also finds that judicial reform is associated with an increase in the probability that the Public Prosecution Office will investigate reported crimes. Nonetheless, this result holds when only Juarez is considered as the treatment city for the different subsamples evaluated.

This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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