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Marco Alcocer

Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, UC San Diego

Residency: September 2021 – March 2022

Research Project: Government Crackdowns, Organized Crime Expansion, and State Capture in Mexico

Research Interests: Organized crime, criminal governance, criminal violence, state capture


Marco Alcocer is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at UC San Diego. Marco's research interests are at the intersection between organized crime and politics. His current projects seek to understand how government policies affect criminal organizations and their behavior, and in turn, how criminal organizations sometimes seek to influence government policies by capturing government officials. In particular, Alcocer’sd dissertation provides evidence that the 2006 government crackdown against criminal organizations in Mexico pushed these groups to diversify their portfolios beyond drug trafficking, which incentivized them to expand their presence to new territories. It then asks whether criminal groups have been able to capture local governments in these new territories to influence public policy and policy implementation. 

Using quasi-experimental methods, Marco estimates the effects that criminal organizations have on local government spending, while in-depth qualitative methods are used to investigate the mechanisms through which criminal groups have been able to affect policy by capturing various government officials. Alcocer relies on mixed-methods research that combines observational and quasi-experimental research with qualitative case study methods based on in-depth fieldwork and interviews.