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Mitigating Corruption in Government Security Forces

Mitigating Corruption in Government Security Forces: The Role of Institutions, Incentives, and Personnel Management in Mexico

Beth J. Asch
Nicholas Burger
Mary Manqing Fu
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 86
  • Book Info
    Mitigating Corruption in Government Security Forces
    Book Description:

    Mexico has undertaken reforms in recent years to professionalize its police. This report draws on the literature on corruption and personnel incentives and analyzes police reform in Mexico. It addresses the roots of corruption and the tools that could be used to mitigate it and provides an initial assessment of the reforms' effectiveness. The results suggest some progress, though police corruption still remains high and more work is needed.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5274-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    It is widely acknowledged that corruption is rife within Mexico’s security forces and judicial system (Reames, 2003; Morris, 1999). Corruption poses a threat to Mexico’s national wellbeing by hampering economic growth and development and by compromising the security of its citizens. Although studies point to a long history of petty corruption in Mexico, the dramatic rise in recent years in the illicit drug trade and in weapon and human trafficking between Mexico and the United States have put a spotlight on how weak institutions hampered by corruption have exacerbated these problems (Meyer, 2007; Birns and Sánchez, 2007; Flakus, 2008). Consequently,...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Insights from the Literature
    (pp. 5-20)

    Past studies provide insight into the factors that promote or facilitate corruption, the reforms that mitigate it, and the empirical evidence that supports these theories. Although relatively few studies provide direct evidence on the effectiveness of corruption–mitigating reforms, the larger literature points to key drivers and, therefore, the prime targets of reform. This chapter briefly reviews the literature on corruption— especially areas relevant to reducing corruption in the police—and the next chapter draws on this literature in our review of police reforms in Mexico.

    Two related areas of study are relevant. The first concerns the macrolevel institutional context...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Mexico’s Police Reforms
    (pp. 21-28)

    This chapter reviews past police reforms in Mexico, drawing from the literature review in the previous chapter to understand whether these reforms seem sensible. We begin by summarizing briefly Mexico’s political history and past police reforms—in particular, some of the events that led to a push for police reform. The chapter then describes the structure of police forces in Mexico and describes police reform efforts targeted to the federal, municipal, and state levels.It also describes reforms specifically related to police compensation and personnel policies, including pay, selection, and training aimed at professionalizing the Mexican police.

    In the aftermath of...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Empirical Data on Corruption and Inputs to Professionalism in the Mexican Security Services
    (pp. 29-50)

    This chapter assesses the current state of corruption in Mexico, focusing especially on corruption and bribery associated with the police and security forces. We also present data on trends in inputs to police professionalism over the past decade. Previous research has assessed corruption in Mexico (e.g., Morris, 2003) and qualitatively explored the role of corruption in the police (e.g., Sabet, 2009). However, there has been little quantitative empirical work that describes the prevalence and perceptions of corruption within the security forces. In part, this is due to lack of data. Corruption is inherently hard to measure, and subnational data on...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions
    (pp. 51-58)

    This report considers the problem of corruption in the Mexican police and security forces through the lens of economic incentives. Specifically, we address the questions of what the institutional and incentive roots of corruption are; what the policies are that are understood in the literature to be effective in mitigating corruption, focusing on compensation and personnel policies; and what evidence is available to suggest that these policies might be effective, both in general and in the context of corruption among Mexico’s security forces. We summarize our main conclusions in this chapter and discuss next steps in terms of data and...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 59-66)