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The Politics of Crime in Mexico: Democratic Governance in a Security Trap

John Bailey
The Politics of Crime in Mexico: Democratic Governance in a Security Trap
ISBN: 978-1-935049-89-0
ISBN: 978-1-62637-091-3
2014/235 pages/LC: 2013047157
A FirstForumPress Book
"An impressive work of immense importance that sets a new standard for scholarship in this area."—Robert J. Bunker, Claremont Graduate University

"Comprehensive and wide-ranging.... This is a thoughtful, accessible, and informative account of the most important crime problems facing Mexico today."—Peter Andreas, Brown University


What kind of democracy will emerge in Mexico when the current levels of violence are brought under control? Will democratic reformers gain strength in the new equilibrium between government and criminal organizations? Or will corruption tilt the balance toward criminal interests? In the context of these questions, John Bailey explores the "security trap" in which Mexico is currently caught—where the dynamics of crime, violence, and corruption conspire to override efforts to put the country on a path toward democratic governance.


John Bailey is emeritus professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University. His most recent books include Public Security and Police Reform in the Americas and Transnational Crime and Public Security: Challenges for Mexico and the United States.


  • Security Traps and Mexico's Democracy.
  • Foundational Crime: Tax Evasion and Informality.
  • Common Crime and Democracy: Weakening vs. Deepening.
  • Organized Crime: Theory and Applications to Kidnapping.
  • Drug Trafficking Organizations and Democratic Governance.
  • State Responses to Organized Crime.
  • Escape Routes: Policy Adaptation and Diffusion.