Why do so many people kill each other?
Awesome new book by Professor Deborah Yashar @Princeton.
- Expanding illicit economies & high-stakes incentives for control of trade
- Weak/complicit states
- High competition between rival organisations
--> HIGH VIOLENCE
Asking, does your theory of X explain:
- Change over time,
- Differences between countries, &
- Subnational variation?
If not, can you really explain X?
Homicides only occur when rival organisations try to control that lucrative drug route.
There were crackdowns in the Caribbean & Mexico.
Guatemala = weak/ complicit police & judiciary
Seeing these permissive conditions, state & non-state actors built up a drugs trade in G. Homicides peak in subnat places where they compete
Ranked last for pc income, youth urban unemployment, illiteracy, social spending.
And conveniently located for the US drugs trade.
So, would you expect a relatively low or high homicide rate?
But got new leaders.
The police became more independent, less partisan.
Committed to law and order, & pro-actively working with the community
[NB. this is **RELATIVE** to Guatemala & El Salvador]
But as social scientists, we can still ask, why was violence relatively low before this period?
I don't know how much the recent spike in state-sponsored killings affect the national average homicides? I defer to regional experts.
85% expressed a positive opinion of the chief of police, Granera. She was the most popular public official.
50% expressed a positive opinion of the police. It had wide(ish) public support.
the Nicaraguan police (before 2014) embodied an "esprit de corps (one where individuals join for a collective cause and are sanctioned when they violate it)".
Young police officers emulated public-minded superiors
Positive feedback loop: more competent, less corrupt.
So the drug trade did not flourish - relative to M, El S, & G.
And the police did not get so corrupted by drug money.
- Strategic complementarity: Twitter becomes more fun if our chums are users👯♀️
- Credibility: verification through multiple confirming sources 🤓
- Legitimacy: we check to see if our pals approve 🤗🤗
- Emotional contagion: EXCITEMENT SPURS ACTION! 🤩
So, i 😍 Damon Centola's focus on EXCITEMENT!
[Tangent: if you're waaay into this groove, also check out Dr Roni Porat's work on emotions & social norms scholar.google.com/citations?user…]
We see that behavioural change endures iff there's network clustering:
Enabling social innovators to reinforce each others' early adoption of new behaviour.
1) Classes & 💰indiv rewards
2) Classes, rewards, & comparison to anonymous others 🏋️♀️🏋️♂️
3) Classes, online chat, & team rewards
4) Classes, online chat, comparison to other teams, & rewards
Which does best?
If your colleagues are corrupt, frustrated, despondent, lacking commitment to public service, this curbs investment & innovation.
So how to build espirit de corps, when no one has it, or sees it?
Identifying problems, collectively addressing them, securing small wins, builds collective efficacy: they see they can do it, together
- Waves of immigration in early 1900s
- African Americans -> Northern cities
- More women entered the labour force, & gained the vote
- Low-skilled labour & mass production
- Small-scale producers couldn't compete
1920-1922, unemployment rose from 5 to 12%
Many Klansmen were small-business producers, or low-level white collar workers
[But economics isn't everything; some were managers/ professionals]
Pavithra Suryanarayan (2018) in CPS.