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The Violence of Law-and-Order Politics: The Case of Law Enforcement Candidates in Brazil

flyer for Lucas Novaes
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Monday, October 26, 2020
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Lucas Novaes

Lucas Navaes is an assistant professor at the INSPER Institute of Education and Research in São Paulo, Brazil. This talk is sponsored by the Working Group on Latin American Politics.

Talk title: "The Violence of Law-and-Order Politics: The Case of law enforcement candidates in Brazil"

Abstract
The Violence of Law-and-order Politics: The Case of Law Enforcement Candidates in Brazil. The abstract is: Candidates in the developing world often run campaign platforms that promise to improve security, but what do these law-and-order candidates achieve after taking office? In Brazil, where violence is widespread, many law enforcement agents run for office in municipal councils under an unambiguous security platform. Through an electoral regression discontinuity design, this paper shows that the election of law enforcement candidates generates a surge in homicides among non-white men. Mano-dura tactics and weak state capacity cannot explain this violence, but local politics can. Spatial analyses using geocoded robberies and homicides show that neighborhoods that did not support law-and-order politicians experience more violence and crime, while areas that had shown support become more secure. These results suggest that politicians that come from the police use their embeddedness in police departments to distort public policy to benefit their constituency, uncovering a perilous intersection between electoral politics and law enforcement.