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Policy Preferences after Crime Victimization: Panel and Survey Evidence from Latin America

  • Giancarlo Visconti (a1)

Can crime victimization increase support for iron-fist crime-reduction policies? It is difficult to assess the political effects of crime, mainly because of the presence of unmeasured confounders. This study uses panel data from Brazil and strategies for reducing sensitivity to hidden biases to study how crime victims update their policy preferences. It also examines survey data from eighteen Latin American countries to improve the external validity of the findings. The results show that crime victims are more likely to support iron-fist or strong-arm measures to reduce crime, such as allowing state repression. Affected citizens are also found to value democracy less, which might explain their willingness to accept the erosion of basic rights in favor of radical measures to combat delinquency. These findings reveal that exposure to crime can change what people think the state should be allowed to do, which can have important political implications.

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