Crime, Economics and Government : How Perceptions Impact Political Legitimacy in Latin American Countries Jeanine Needles University of Florida
! Introduction As the world becomes more globalized, it becomes increasingly important to understand the efficiency and inefficiency of different political structures around the world. Studying the numerous variables that have the power to impact levels of government leg itimacy helps to provide researchers with an enhanced understanding of how certain factors like crime and poverty can change the way a citizen views the capabilities of the political system within their country. In several Latin American countries, high le vels of poverty and crime coexist. The relationships between crime, poverty, and government legitimacy have long been under study by sociological and criminological researchers. It is reasonable to suggest that a poorly functioning economy that breeds ineq uality combined with a poor system for providing security to citizens may lead to a lack of trust or confidence in the political system of a country. Although the relationships existing between poverty rates, crime rates, and government legitimacy have alr eady been studied by several researchers, this study aims to decipher how individual perceptions on the economy and on crime within a country impact individual perceptions on the efficiency of the government. Due to the high poverty levels and high inciden ce of crime in several Latin American countries, this analysis will focus on three democracies in Latin America: Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. This paper aims to provide evidence in the form of survey data to exhibit how negative perceptions on crime and n egative perceptions on the economy in each of these three countries are accompanied by decreases in government legitimacy over time. This paper will take a historical and comparative approach and will compare data collected from Brazil, Mexico, and Colombi a over a period of eighteen years (from 1998 2016). Data collected for the perceptions of crime, the economy, and government legitimacy in each of these three countries will then be compared next to significant dates in the
! # political histories of these thr ee countries. In providing evidence for my previous claim, I aim to show a negative relationship between government legitimacy and perceptions of crime (as crime is perceived as rising, government legitimacy decreases) along with a positive relationship b etween government legitimacy and perceptions of the economy (as the economy is perceived as improving government legitimacy will rise) I predict that these relationships will be exhibited in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia and that increases and decreases i n government legitimacy in each of these three countries will correspond to significant political and historical dates. Theoretical Review In this paper, I will determine the relationship between government legitimacy and perceptions of crime as well as the relationship between government legitimacy and perceptions of the economy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. The measurement of government legitimacy (based on the index provided in the methods section below) will serve as the dependent variable. Perceptions of crime and perceptions of the economy (whose measurements will both be based on indexes provided in the methods section below) will se rve as the independent variables in this study. In this section, I will discuss the theoretical relationships between these three variables. It is important to have an understanding of the relationship between the economy and crime before considering how each of these factors impact government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. As previously mentioned, the relationship between the economy and crime has been studied extensively in sociology and criminology. It is generally agreed upon that poverty and crime have a positive relationship (meaning as poverty increases, crime rates increase) Research has shown how high levels of income inequality (based on the Gini Index) contribute to a high incidence of crime (Fajnzybler et al. 2002:25). Although thi s positive
! $ relationship between poverty and crime is well known, there are several different reasons for why this positive relationship exists in different parts of the world. Within Latin America, one of the reasons why a poor economy and high levels of p overty lead to an increase in crime rates is because of the lack of legal opportunities available to citizens for improving their own economic standing. (Soares and Naritomi 2010:41). This increases the attractiveness of illegal means of making money, ther efore increasing the likelihood of crime. Additionally, issues with overcrowding and unemployment (which often accompany high poverty rates) are known to significantly increase the likelihood of crime. (Buvinic et al. 2005). Knowing that the relationship between a poor economy and crime is widely thought to be positive will help guide this research study in determining the relationship between perceptions of the economy and government legitimacy as well as the relationship between perceptions of crime and government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Previous research has not only determined that the relationship between poverty and crime is positive, but it has also found that the relationship between poverty and government legitimacy is negative (meaning as poverty increases, government legitimacy decreases) Understanding the relationship between the economic state of a country and the government legitimacy within that country will help in determining the relationship between perceptions of the economy and government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. The relationship between poverty and government legitimacy has been studied by many researchers, including Bruce Gilley, who conducted a bivariate regression analysis to determine the indiv idual relationships between state legitimacy and numerous economic, political, and social factors. In this study, he found that income level and economic governance both have a significant explaining power with regards to state legitimacy (Gilley 2006:54). Another study by Damarys
! % Canache and Michael Allison, which limited its data analysis to Latin America, shows through regression analysis that the evaluation of the economic situation in a country has a strong negative relationship with the perceived leve l of corruption within a country (2005:104). Perceived level of corruption is a key indicator in the measurement of government legitimacy. Both of these studies exhibit how a poor economic situation within a country can negatively impact government legitim acy. This negative relationship provides my study with a framework for determining how perceptions on the economy impact government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Finally, the connection between crime and government legitimacy is the last important relationship to assess before determining the relationship between perceptions of crime and government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. The relationship betwee n crime and government legitimacy can be measured through either crime rates or rates of victimization. It is important to keep in mind that measuring crime through victimization rates may in fact over represent the level of crime and insecurity in a given location. Individuals being surveyed may know of others who have been victimized (not including themselves) and this may lead them to feel that where they live is more dangerous. This being said, crime rates tend to under report actual crime. In one study that sampled from nineteen Latin American countries, victimization was proven to be strongly correlated with lack of trust in national level institutions such as the judicial system (Corbacho et al. 2012:28). Another study by Michael Carreras shows that, in Latin America, a high victimization rate has a negative impact on citizens' confidence in political institutions (2013:100 101) This means that high incidences of criminal violence (which explain the high levels of exposure to violent crime) decrease go vernment legitimacy. Both studies mentioned above indicate that the relationship between crime (measured through
! & victimization) and government legitimacy is negative. This relationship will guide this study in determining the relationship between perceptio ns of crime and government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Despite the relationships between crime, economics, and government legitimacy that have been determined by numerous researchers, there are possible limitations to such studies that mus t be taken into consideration. First and foremost, every researcher has a different definition for a given concept. The ways in which researchers conceptualize and operationalize concepts like crime, poverty, and government legitimacy vary. Therefore, whil e looking at these studies, it is important to keep in mind that although each of them provide significant find ing s for the relationships between crime, the economy, and government legitimacy, these relationships are all derived from different methodologie s and by using different definitions. The second important item to consider is that not all the studies mentioned above have limited their samples to Latin American countries. It is possible that relationships between crime, the economy, and government leg itimacy differ depending on the context. For this reason, my study is limited to Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Reasons for choosing these three Latin American countries will be explained in detail in the following section. Lastly, there is an important dis tinction between the studies outlined above and the study that I will be conducting. In the studies outlined above, several researchers utilized survey data to determine the relationships between crime, the economy, and government legitimacy. However, none of these studies correlate their findings with the political structures or histories of the countries that were sampled. In this study, I will first look at perceptions of the economy as they correlate to government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colom bia. Then, I will look at perceptions of crime and how they compare with measures of government legitimacy in these three countries. After compiling all this data, I will
! compare fluctuations in the government legitimacy of each country over time with sign ificant political events as they occur throughout history (between 1998 2016) This correlation between measures of government legitimacy, perceptions of crime, and perceptions of the economy will provide for a more robust understanding of how different po litical structures and histories impact the relationship between perceptions of crime and government legitimacy as well as the relationship perceptions of the economy and government legitimacy. Historical Case Study Review This paper will focus on the political histories of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia in order to find correlations between significant political events throughout each country's history and the perceptions of the economy, crime, and government legitimacy. In f acilitating a study that analyzes the government legitimacy of three different countries, it is vital to understand the political structures of these countries. Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia were chosen as the samples of this study because all three countri es are fairly new democracies in Latin America. Choosing three democratic countries from the same region aids the process of making comparisons between political systems and their legitimacies. Brazil's first democratic constitution was put in place in 198 8 (Scholastic 2018). Mexico's 1917 constitution called for the implementation of democratic institutions, however this did not occur until a multi party system was formed out of the presidential election in 2000 ( Council of Hemispheric Affairs 2011). Befor e the 2000 election, all of Mexico was controlled by one political party, the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional). In Colombia, the first democratic constitution was adopted in 1991 ( Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Colombia 2018 ). As fairly ne w democracies, all three of these Latin
! ( American countries face similar issues with government stability. I will discuss this in more detail in the following paragraphs. Another important aspect of the political structures of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia is the difference in presidential terms. Although both Brazil and Colombia have four year terms with the possibility of re election, Mexico allows only a single six year term (O'Neil et al. 2013). This distinction is important because it highlights how in Brazil and Colombia it may be easier for one president to maintain power over a long er period of time than it is in Mexico. Although this seems to be the case when solely looking at the presidential terms of these countries, it is also important to keep i n mind that the PRI in Mexico still influences much of the government from behind the scenes although it is no longer the only political party represented in the country's politics ( BBC 2018 ). Finally, in analyzing government legitimacy, it is imperative to keep in mind the level of political participation in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. The average voter turnout for each of the three countries vary greatly. In Brazil, the average vote r turnout is 79.54% while in Mexico the average voter turnout is only 58.25% and in Colombia it is 43.83% ( Election Guide 2018) This difference in voter turnout may impact the levels of government legitimacy expr essed in each of the three countries. In completing the analysis for this study, this significant difference between Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia must be kept in mind. In completing this study to determine the relationship between perceptions of the econ omy and government legitimacy as well as the relationship between perceptions of crime and government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, it is important to first develop an adequate understanding of how the political histories of these three count ries compare to one another. These three Latin American countries were chosen for this study because their histories
! ) exhibit similarities in their governments' issues with maintaining stability, in their problems with high crime rates, and in their economi c difficulties. The first historical aspect that Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia have in common is their issues with government instability. In Brazil, this problem with government instability began with the first president. Fernando Collor de Mello, elected in 1989, was impeached in 1992 due to corruption charges (O'Neil et al. 2013:595). This corruption theme is present in much of Brazil's history as a democracy. In 2007, the speaker of the Brazilian senate resigned as the result of a corruption scandal. Lat er in 2011, the chief of staff of the first female president, Dilma Rousseff, resigned due to corruption allegations. And finally, in 2015, evidence was found concluding that President Rousseff misused funds from her 2014 election campaign and she was late r impeached by the senate in 2016 ( BBC 2018 ). This issue with corruption has most likely had a negative impact on the government legitimacy in Brazil. In Mexico, as stated previously, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional has retained their power and i nfluence over the Mexican government since the beginning of the democracy. This creates instability in the government being that it is highly unlikely for any other political party in Mexico to achieve the same level of power and authority over Mexican pol itics as the PRI. In addition, Mexico has had several issues throughout its history with government entities being involved in criminal activity. In 2002, secret security files were released from the 19 60s and 19 70s that exhibited the torture and killing o f hundreds of political activists by security forces ( BBC 2018 ). Also, in 2015, arrest warrants were issued to many suspects, including a former mayor (Jose Luis Arbarca), for the kidnapping of 43 students in Guerrero (Romo and Botelho 2014). Involvement in crime and violence by government entities and political figu res has a negative impact on the level of stability in a government. Along with the political
! *+ domination of the PRI in Mexican politics, the government system in Mexico has many flaws that have the capacity to contribute to a low level of government legiti macy. Colombia also faces many issues with maintaining a stable government. There are several examples of how the Colombian government went through periods of instability throughout the country's history. For example, in 1996, President Ernesto Samper Piz ano was charged with receiving drug cartel money to fund his election campaign. Although he was acquitted by Congress, his political influence was significantly weakened as a result of the accusation (PÂŽrez LiÂ–Â‡n 2007:1). Also, in Colombia, the presence of FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), a powerful guerrilla rebel group, has caused the Colombian government to make d ecisions that could possibly have a negative impact on the stability of the political system. In 1998, the Colombian governm ent formulated a "safe haven" for FARC that was off limits to Colombian security forces. In 2001, FARC is accused of using this space to rearm their rebels, to prepare new attacks, and to conduct drug trades ( BBC 2018 ). It is understandable why this might make citizens wary of the actions that their government has taken in response to FARC. Additionally, in 2007, the Colombian government released dozens of captured FARC guerrillas in the hopes that the rebel group would release some of their hostages as wel l ( B BC 2018 ). However, this did not occur. This second scenario in 2007 represents another time the government made a decision in attempting to work with FARC that ended up with negative consequences. As a result of the ways in which the Colombian governme nt has chosen to deal with the guerrilla group, it is highly likely that these poor decisions have had a negative impact on the legitimacy of the government in the eyes of citizens. A second way in which the histories of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia are s imilar is that they have all had serious difficulties in facing high levels of violent crime. Much of the violent
! ** crime in these three Latin American countries was committed by gangs and militant groups. This similarity between the three Latin American cou ntries is important to note when looking at the relationship between the perceptions of crime and the government legitimacy in each country. In Brazil, violent crime has occurred in great numbers both at the hands of police and at the hands of militant gr oups like the PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital). In 2005 was the first rogue police killing and following into 2006, large numbers of people were killed in gang attacks and police backlashes ( BBC 2018 ). This pattern has continued up into the present day. N umerous police in Brazil are killed each year by the PCC, however these killing receive almost no attention from society because the Brazilian population assumes that most police are corrupt (Denyer Willis 2015.) As a result of the fear that policemen in B razil have of being killed by the PCC, they are quick to shoot in their line of duty and end up contributing to the violence and crime in Brazil (Denyer Willis 2015). This high level of crime and violence in Brazil throughout history has the possibility o f exacerbating perceptions of crime and, in turn, negatively impacting the government legitimacy in the country. Like Brazil, Mexico has also faced issues with high crime rates throughout its history as a country. In addition to the violence and crimes co mmitted by the government entities and political figures mentioned previously, Mexico has also experienced high levels of crime due to gang violence. In 2006 a federal post of specialized prosecutors had to be formed to deal with hundreds of violent crimes against women that had been previously ignored. Later in 2006, a new federal police force had to be created to handle the increasing number of crimes committed at the hands of drug cartels ( BBC 2018 ). Drug related killings in Mexico continue to soar every year up into the present. In 2015 hundreds of armed gang members took over Chilapa in Guerrero, Mexico as a result of a turf war between drug gangs and in 2016 when El Chapo (an
! *" infamous drug lord in Mexico) was extradited to the United States, drug violence surged as gangs competed for power ( BBC 2018 ). This violent crime has been occurring in Mexico for several years and continues to worsen. This most likely has a significant im pact on the perceptions of crime of the citizens in Mexico. This high level of crime also has the possibility of having a strong negative impact on the government legitimacy of the country. Much like the other two countries, Colombia has also had plenty of difficulties with crime throughout its history as a democratic country This issue can be dated all the way back to 1985 when eleven judges and ninety civilians were murdered by the M 19 guerrilla group when they broke into the Palace of Justice ( BBC 2018 ). Violent crime at the hands of militant guerrilla groups continued into the 2000s. In 2002, the Colombian government declared a war zone after FARC rebels setup attacks in the south and in 2008, Colombia extradited fourteen paramilitary warlords to the United States due to drug trafficking charges ( BBC 2018 ). In 2011, FARC rebels began facilitating hit and run raids on civilians and in 2017, although FARC formally ended their existence as a guerrilla group, protestors of FARC continue to battle with Colo mbian armed forces ( BBC 2018 ). Similar to Brazil and Mexico, Colombia has dealt with crime at the hands of a rebel groups. The violent crime committed by these groups has been a part of Colombia's history before its implementation as a democracy. This exis tence of crime in Colombia for decades most likely has a strong impact on the perceptions of crime of citizens. And much like Brazil and Mexico, this has the possibility of decreasing government legitimacy. The third and final way in which the histories o f Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia are similar is that they have all three had difficulties in maintaining a stable economy. This can have a direct impact on the perceptions that citizens have on the economies of each of these three countries. In Brazil, econo mic difficulties have been present since the first democratic election.
! *# The first president, Fernando Collor de Mello, promised that he would bring about economic reform (O'Neil et al. 2013:593). However, this economic reform never occurred. In 2002, Brazi l's currency hit a record low and financial markets were fearing the possible election of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a left wing presidential candidate ( BBC 2018 ). Much to the dismay of the financial markets, Lula was elected later that year. He made the s ame promise to reduce poverty and pledged to rid the country of hunger (O'Neil et al. 2013:579). In 2011, a program called Brasil Sem Miseria (Brazil Without Poverty) was founded in an effort to free millions of civilians from extreme poverty. And finally, in 2013, protestors made their voices heard in their complaint over the poor public services offered in Brazil ( BBC 2018 ). This historical pattern of an u nstable economic system may have an impact on the perceptions of the economy held by Brazilians. A po or economic system may also lead to a decrease in government legitimacy. Mexico has also had a troubling economic history. Back in 1994, the stock market crashed and the peso lost a third of its value ( BBC 2018 ). In 2013, nearly half of the Mexican populat ion was considered to be at or below the poverty line (Cohen 2013). A study on the income distribution in Latin American countries shows how between the years 2000 2013, there was little to no fluctuation in the number of citizens living in poverty in Mexi co ( Stampini et al. 2015:8 ) This shows that almost half of Mexico's population has been at or below the poverty line for a little more than a decade. This pattern of extreme poverty in Mexico has a high likelihood of having a great impact on the perceptions of the economy held by cit izens. It is plausible that having a poor economic system that has maintained a large poverty rate for many years would have a negative impact on the government legitimacy of the country as well. Like Brazil and Mexico, Colombia has also faced issues with upholding a stable economy. In 2000, the Colombian government instituted a program called "Plan Colombia"
! *$ which would bring in about a billion dollars in military aid from the United States because the country could not afford to arm themselves properly t o fight rebel groups (BBC 2018 ). In 2008, a huge collapse of pyramid investment schemes caused citizens to become angry with the economic situation in Colombia and led to many violent protests. And in 2011, the United States passed a free trade agreement w ith Colombia even though they expressed concerns over the poor economic conditions in Colombia's history (BBC 2018 ). Much like Mexico, almost half of Colombia was living at or below the poverty line in 2013. However, Colombia has been more successful than Mexico in decreasing this number from 2000 2013 (Stampini et al. 2015:8). Much like Brazil and Mexico, Colombia has also faced plenty of economic issues throughout its history as a country. This may have a significant impact on the perceptions of the eco nomy in Colombia and may result in changes in the government legitimacy as well. Although these three countries have great similarities that aid in the process of analyzing data and making comparisons, a few issues must be addressed. First, even though all three of these countries have faced issues with maintaining stability in the government, this has been expressed in widely different ways in each country. In Brazil, corruption impacted this aspect the most heavily. For Mexico, government entities' and po litical figures' participation in crime and violence impacted the stability government. In Colombia, government decisions in response to rebel groups influenced government stability. Although these three aspects all impacted each country in similar ways wi th regards to stability, it cannot be assumed that these various events allowed for the same response in each of these countries. And although it is reasonable to assume that corruption, government involvement in crime, and poor decisions at the hands of t he governmen t would all lead to a lack of stability in the government, this is also an assumption. Secondly, although crime and violence took place in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia throughout
! *% their histories as democratic countries, it is difficult to compa re them directly. The size of each country is one factor that has not been considered as well as the concentration of incidences of crime. For example, Brazil is a much larger country than both Mexico and Colombia and the crime in Brazil is highly concentr ated in urban areas (Stampini et al. 2015:14). Lastly, even though all three of the countries in this study have experienced economic instability, Mexico and Colombia have experienced far more difficulty than Brazil (Stampini et al. 2015:8). Additionally, the same issue with size and concentration of poverty comes into play. Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia are three fairly new democracies in Latin America. They have all faced similar issues throughout their histories as democracies. All three countries have f aced problems with maintaining stability in their governments, with lowering crime rates, and with maintaining a stable economy. Although these issues have not been experienced in each country in the same way or at the same level, these similarities all ha ve the possibility of impacting perceptions of the economy, perceptions on crime, and government legitimacy levels over time. As a result, these similarities in the histories of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia are all significant to this study in determining the relationship between perceptions of the economy and government legitimacy as well as the relationship between perceptions on crime and government legitimacy in each country. Research Goals and Questions The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between government legitimacy and both perceptions o f the economy and perceptions o f crime in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia over a period of eighteen years (from 1998 2016). Increases and decreases in government legitimacy will be compared with the dates of significant political and historical events in all
! *& three countries. I hypothesize that the relationship between government legitimacy and perceptions on the economy will be positive and that the relationship between government legitimacy and perceptions on crime will be negative in all three countries. I also hypothesize that increases and decreases in government legitimacy will correspond with significant historical and political dates such as elections or impeachments. This is a macro level study that focuses on patterns between concepts at the national level. In analyzing data compiled from Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, this paper will focus on three key concepts: government legitimacy, perceptions on the economy, and perceptions on crime. All three of these concepts will be operationalized through the secondary analysis of survey data compiled by Latin o bar Â— metro. Six different survey questions will serve as indicators for government legitimacy, perceptions on the economy, and perceptions on crime. In this study, crime perceptions will be operationalized through two different survey questions on levels of crime and levels of victimization. These questions will tell us how citizens of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia perceive crime within their countries. Not only will these questions show what citizens believe to be the crime rate within their countries, but they will also show how self reported victimization is tied to perceptions of overall crime. Perceptions on the economy will be operationa lized through two different survey questions on both the economic situation of the country and on the economic situation of the respondent. By determining both the respondents' opinions on their country's economic situation as well as where they feel they stand as an individual economically, this study will provide a clear er idea of how successful respondents feel the economic structure of their country is. The last concept, government legitimacy, will be operationalized through two different survey questio ns that specifically focus on the democratic structures of each country and whether they are perceived as being effective
! *' by respondents. Through analyzing leve ls of satisfaction with democracy and confidence in political parties, this study will be able to approximate the levels of government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Conducting a secondary data analysis brings many possible limitations to a study. One large limitation to conducting secondary data analysis is t hat the variables being measured for may not entirely match up with the concepts being studied. For example, this study focuses on government legitimacy, crime perceptions, and economic perceptions through analyzing survey data and specific survey question s. Although these particular survey questions may capture my own definition of these three concepts, everyone has a different definition of what counts as government legitimacy, crime perceptions, and economic perceptions. This issue poses a threat to the validity of the study. Another limitation to conducting secondary data analysis is that often the metadata concerning the sampling design and the data collection are unclear. For example, m ethodological reports from Latin o bar Â— metro are only available for t he years 2006 2015 (Latin o bar Â— metro 2015). This also poses a threat to the validity of this research study. Although there are several potential confounding factors to a research study that utilizes secondary data, there are several benefits to conducting such a study. First, these types of studies are low in cost since the data has already been collected. In addition, studies that conduct secondary data analysis are broadly representative and provide data from many different time points. Also, this type o f data is standardized, which makes drawing comparisons a much simpler feat Despite all the possible limitations in this study, the strengths of conducting secondary data analysis outweigh the costs.
! *( Methodology and Data In determining the relationships between government legitimacy, perceptions on crime a nd perceptions of the economy, this study will analyze data collected from Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. All of the data being analyzed in this study has been collected by Latin o bar Â— metro Latin o bar Â— metro is a private non profit organization that is based in Chile. As described on their database, Latin o bar Â— metro is an annual public opinion survey that interviews in 18 different Latin American countries and represents more than 600 million citizens living in Latin America (Latin o bar Â— metro 2015). Latin o b ar Â— metro provides the public with reliable and representative data. Although Latin o bar Â— metro samples from 18 different Latin American countries, for this study I will be samp ling data from only three countries: Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Latin o bar Â— metro provides in depth technical records that inform researchers of the sampling procedures taken each year in each country being studied. Provided b elow are Tables 1 3 that exhi bit the different sampling techniques used in conducting surveys in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia from 1998 2015 The first column shows the country, the second column shows t he organization used, the third column shows the year, the fourth column shows the N sample, the fifth column shows the percent sample error, and the sixth column shows the representativeness for the whole country Unfortunately, Latino barÂ—metro has not ye t uploaded their technical records and sampling procedures for 2016. However Latin o bar Â— metro provides sampling information for all the other years being analyzed in this study. As shown in T ables 1 3 below each country utilizes a different organization to conduct surveys and these organizations vary depending on the year. Surveys conducted by Latin o bar Â— metro are not panel studies. Although panel studies allow researchers to draw conclusions and make correlations between concepts more simply this
! *) method of sampling is usually too expensive to complete. In addition to working with different organizations depending on the year different methods of sampling are used for different years within each country. Both of these pieces of information are important to keep in mind while conducting this study. The use of different organizations and different sampling methods may have an impact on the results of annual surveys. It also may impact the ability to make significant associations between variables. Another possible confounding factor of the sampling procedures described above is that the representativeness of the samples is relatively low for each country before the early 2000s. Even though this study focuses on the dates between 1998 2016, the lack of representativeness in the early years of sampling may have caused some variation in the data compiled for those year s Another important note is made at the bottom of Table 3 with regards to data collected in Colombia. It states that there was no consid eration for territories in conflict. This could greatly impact the data collected for Colombia and how representative it is for measuring government legitimacy, crime perceptions, and economic perceptions. Although these items mentioned serve a s possible l imitation s an advantage to the sampling procedures used by Latin o bar Â— metro is that the N sample is close to the same for all years sampled in all three countries.
! "+ Table 1 Table 2
! "* Table 3 One of the most important elements of this research study is the time dimension This research study takes a historical and comparative approach. As mentioned previously, this study aims to determine the relationships between government legitimacy and perceptions on crime and the economy in Brazil, Mexico, and Co lombia. The study then aims to find correlations between high and low points of government legitimacy and significant historical and political events in each country. Data were collected for Latin o bar Â— metro surveys between the years 1998 2016. Survey data were collected every two years ( and on ev en years only). This is because elections for Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia all occur on even years. In addition, I believe that it is important to collect data a year after each inauguration. Therefore, this study f ocus ed on data from 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. There is one important note I would like to make about the use of time in this study. As with much secondary research,
! "" Latin o bar Â— metro presents some gaps in the data availa ble to the public. These gaps in the data however, are not due to different issues each country was facing at the time. The gaps present in the data provided by Latin o bar Â— metro are consistent for the same questions in all countries being studied. For the questions that do not have data for the specific years that I aim to look at, I will look at the data for the next closest year available (2011 and 2015 instead of 2012 and 2014) Each concept being measured in this study (government legitimacy, perceptions of crime, and perceptions on the economy) will be operationalized through two different survey questions from Latin o bar Â— metro Crime perceptions will be operationalized through t wo key survey questions. The first question asks the respondent whether they think crime in their country has increased or decreased over time (LatinobarÂ—metro 2015). The second question asks the respondent if they or a family member of theirs has ever bee n a victim (LatinobarÂ—metro 2015). These two questions will tell us how citizens of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia perceive crime within their countries. Unfortunately, the first question regarding crime ra tes provides very limited data (only has data for 19 98, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2011). H owever, when looked at next to the self reported victimization rates in question two, the two variables prove to vary in similar fashions Consequently the second question helps to fill some of the gaps in data in the first. Perceptions on the economy will be operationalized through two different survey questions as well The first question asks the respondent whether they think the current economic situation in their country is very good, good, average, bad, or v ery bad (LatinobarÂ—metro 2015). The second question asks the respondent what they think their own socioeconomic status is, on a scale of very good, good, average, bad, or very bad (LatinobarÂ—metro 2015). These two
! "# questions tie both micro and macro level t hinking into a holistic picture of the economic perceptions of citizens in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. The last concept, government legitimacy, will also be operationalized through two key survey questions. The first question asks the respondent how sati sfied they are with democracy in their country (LatinobarÂ—metro 2015). The second question asks the respondent how much confidence they have in political parties in their country (LatinobarÂ—metro 2015). These two questions measure for government legitimacy in a way that specifically looks at the democratic structures of each country and whether they are perceived as being effective by respondents. In completing this research study, there are both advantages and disadvantages to conducting secondary data an alysis using comparative survey data. Comparative research is limited because it focuses on large aggregates and does not pay attention to individual level phenomena. Because of this, it is possible to accidentally miss the heterogeneity existing within a sample population. Another limitation to comparative research is that the units being analyzed and measured as independent variables may not actually be independent. In this case, perceptions on crime and perceptions on the economy serve as independent var iables although there are likely other variables that influence the measurement of these concepts. Using survey data in a research study comes with certain limitations as well. Survey data does not provide rich detail since there are no open ended question s. As a result, respondents may feel confined by the limited answer choices and choose one that does not fully explain their answer to a given survey question. Despite the limitations to using comparative survey data, there are also advantages. For example survey data is considered to be reliable since questions are standardized. Also, conducting a secondary analysis of survey data allows for the evasion of any ethical issues in data collection.
! "$ Analytical Techniques When using secondary sources to conduct research and to find correlations between concepts, it is important to understand how the source being used has coded for each variable. Latin o bar Â— metro provides not es on coding for some of their data sets. Unfortunately Latin o bar Â— metro is missing a significant amount of coding information. The site provides methodological notes solely for the years between 2006 2015. Between these years, I am only collecting data for 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. However, the site only offers coding inf or mation for 2006 and 2010. In these code notes, Latin o bar Â— met ro clearly states that they use code cleaning procedures in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia in both 2006 and 2010 Also, in both years (and for all three countries) an important step in the coding pr ocess was checking that all questions were answered and that the formatting for each question was correct. We can assume these two steps were completed for each year of data collection. However, there is some visible variation in the coding procedures for these three countries. Depending on the year and the country, different percentages (ranging from ten to twenty percent) of the answers were randomly reviewed to compare to the full set of answers. This difference in coding along with the number of years with missing coding information both serve as limitation s to analyzing this data set. Although the s e are limitation s to using data provided by Latin o bar Â— metro this data set offers a broadly representative sample with a low percent sample error that is formatted in a reliable manner and facilitates comparisons. For these reasons, Latin o ba rÂ— metro is a great secondary source for conducting this study. This resea rch study will use quantitative research methods. After obtaining data for each of the six survey questions mentioned in the previous section, I will conduct a statistical analysis in
! "% order to determine the strength of the associations between government legitimacy, perceptions on crime, and perceptions on the economy. First I will formulate three tables (one for each coun try) that show the percentage of negative responses for each indicator. For example, for measuring government legiti macy I will indicate two different measures for the even years between 1998 2016: what percent of respondents are not at all satisfied or not very satisfied with democracy and what percent of respondents have no confidence or little confidence in political parties. The same rule follows for the measures of crime and the economy in each country ( the percent of respondents that think crime has increased by a lot or by a little, the percent who have been victimized, the percent who think the economy is very ba d or bad, and the percent who think their socioeconomic level is very bad or bad). Th e analysis will then involve the use of multivariate descriptive statistics to evaluate relationships among the key variables I will focus on percentages reporting specific opinions over time in each country. The measure of association being used in this study is Pearson's R since all variables being measured for are continuous (measured in percentages) The analysis is thus a ti me series analysis of the relationships among the key variables. A p value of 0.05 will be used to determine significance of associations between variables. There are some limitations to conducting this type of a statistical analysis. Making conclusions ba sed on multivariate descriptive statistics assumes that the data compiled was sampled randomly. Also, m ultivariate descriptive statistics will be able to determine whether the concepts above are associated, however, association does not mean causation. Des pite these limitations to statistical analysis, this method of interpreting research is useful when handling a large aggregate of quantitative data and can help provide an understanding of the relationships being studied.
! "& After conducting the statistical analysis described above, I will determine which years (between 1998 2016) show increases and decreases in government legitimacy for Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia For this study, I will start by looking at the percentages o f positive and negative answers for both indicators for government legitimacy ( including the question on satisfaction with democracy and the question on confidence in political parties) in 1998 to determine whether the legitimacy starts out high or low bas ed on the majority percentage (whichever responses make up greater than 50% of the sample ). Then, I will determine whether the government legitimacy increases or decreases each of the following years by looking at the percent of positive responses (that in dicate higher levels of satisfaction with democracy and higher levels of confidence in political parties) A significant increase or decrease for this study is five percent. After determining which years have high and low levels of government legitimacy, I will compare these dates to significant political and historical dates for each country. This will provide insight into how different events (including elections, impeachments, corruption scandals, economic troubles, and gang violence) contribute to incre ases and decreases in government legitimacy within each country in this study. Data Analysis Part 1 The completion of the statistical analysis provided unexpected results. Relationships found between perceptions on crime, perceptions of the economy, and government legitimacy were not as clear cut as predicted. Relationships between these three variables also differed depending on the country being analyzed For each analysis, there were only ten data points This is because the study is limited to 10 years (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016). For measuring perceptions on crime (whether it is perceived as increasing or
! "' decreasing), there were only five samples due to limited data points The years sampled for this question were 1998, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2011. Below in T ables 4 6 are the results of the Pearson's R statistical analysis. Significant relationships are highlighted in yellow. My first hypothesis stated that the relationsh ip between economic perceptions and government legitimacy would be positive (as the economy is perceived as improving government legitimacy will go up) My second hypothesis argued that the relationships between perceptions on crime and government legitimacy would be negative (as crime is perceived as rising, government legitimacy will go down). Tables 4 6 clearly represent how the hypothesized relationships were not manifested in the dat a. The only significant relationships were f ound in Brazil and Colombia. Table 4 shows that in Brazil, between the years 1998 2016, there was a significant positive relationship between the respondents' evaluation of the current economic situation in their country and both indicators for government legitimacy. This finding corresponds with my hypothesis that as the economy is perceived as being bad government legitimacy will go down. However, this same relationship was not exhibited in Colombia or Mexico. Also, the indicator for perceptions of the economy that asks what respondents think of their own socioeconomic level did not show this same positive relationship with measures for government legitimacy in Brazil The findings for shown in T able 6 Colombia indicate only one significant relationship between the respondents' evaluation of their personal socioeconomic situation and whether they were satisfied with democracy. Surprisingly, this relationship was negative. This means that as respondents report their own socioeconomic levels as being lower, their satisfaction with democracy rises. There is no clear or logical explanation for why this might be. This particular relationship was only exhibited in Colombia. It is possible that ther e was an error with the data or
! "( that the small number of cases made it difficult for a correct association between variables to be found. For all the other indicators in this study, there were no significant relationships between perceptions on crime and government legitimacy. I believe that this is due to the fact that five is too small of a sample to provide definitive results and to make relationships between the two concepts. As for the relationships found between perceptions on the economy and government legitimacy, I feel that there are many reasons why Brazil was the only country in this study to exhibit a significant relationship Pri marily, Brazil is a much larger country with far less economic trouble than Colombia and Mexico. It is possible that because Brazil has experienced less economic trouble overall that issues with the economy are more heavily weighted amongst citizens. Another reason why this relationship might have only been found in Brazil is that the methodology and sampling techniques used by Latin o bar Â— metro in Brazil were much more con sistent than in Colombia and Mexico (as shown by T ables 1 3 provided in the Methodology and Data section of this paper). Table 4 Table 5
! ") Table 6 Data Analysis Part 2 As part of the analysis of the relationships between perceptions on crime, perceptions on the economy, and government legitimacy, I sought out to determine whether high and low levels of government legitimacy correspond to significant political or historic al events in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. I have compiled data for each country using survey questions on satisfaction with democracy and confidence in political parties to determine whether each country experienced increases or decreases in government le gitimacy for each year in this study (from 1998 2016). All years are accounted for in the data provided by Latin o bar Â— metro except for 2012 and 2014. Since no data was available for these two years, I analyzed the next closest year with available data (2011 and 2015) Below I have included T ables 7 9 (one for each country) that show increases and decreases in both satisfaction with democracy and confidence in political parties along with the significant political or historical events (and dates) that c orrespond with that year. The measures for these two indicators in 1998 are marked as either
! #+ "high" or "low" based on which responses (positive or negative responses) hold the majority percentage (whichever responses make up more than 50% of the sample ). A n "X" signifies that no significant political or historical event took place around the year of data collection. The percentages indicate how many respondents said they were satisfied with democracy and confident in political parties. Much of the results d isplayed below were expected. For example, none of the three countries in this study experienced an increase in one indicator (satisfaction with democracy or confidence in political parties) and a decrease in the other indicator. As shown in T able 7, Brazil experienced drops in one or both indicators for government legitimacy in years with incidents of corrup tion, poor public services, impeachment and when the country's currency hit an all time low Brazil shows increases in one or both indicators for government legitimacy in the years of the re election of Luiz InÂ‡cio Lula da Silva and the election of the first female president in Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. Table 8 shows that in Mexico, years with low levels of government legitimacy (in one or both ind icators) corresponded with increases in drug violence, a drop in Mexican oil production, and when files were released exhibiting how the government tortured and killed political activists in the 1960s and 1970s. Increases in one or both indicators for government legitimacy occurred during Vincente Fox's election, the building up of Mexico's security policy with regards to violence against women and drug related crime, the refusal to pay for Donald Trump's proposed "wall" between the US and Mexico, and t he acceptance of same sex marriage. Table 9 shows that in Colombia, one or both indicators for government legitimacy decreased in years with FARC and rebel attacks the election of lvaro Uribe and the election of Juan Manuel Santos These indicators also decreased during the implementation of the free trade
! #* agreement and the signing of the ceasefire and disarmament agreement between the Colombian government and FARC. Although it is possible that the citizens of Colombia were upset with their government fo r settling with FARC, the decrease in government legitimacy that occurred at the same time as the implementation of the free trade agreement raises some questions. When the agreement was first made, Uribe was re elected as President. His first term took pl ace during the FARC and rebel attacks in 2002. Uribe was extremely right winged and had been accused of both corruption and support of right wing paramilitary groups ( Silva 2017). Santos on the other hand was a very left winged president who won more votes than any president in Colombian history and attempted to establish peace between FARC and the Colombian government (BBC 2016). It is possible that Santos' diligence towards resolving issues between the government and FARC was what caused a decrease in leg itimacy, however this is simply a speculation One of the indicators for government legitimacy increased in Colombia in the same year that Colombia extradited 14 paramilitary warlords to the US. Even though a curfew was in place as a result of violent protesting at the time when these warlords were extradited, this had less influence on the measures for government legitimacy. The second part of my hypothesis for this study was that increases and decreases in government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia would correspond with significant political and historical events. The results provided below in T ables 7 9 confirm my hypothesis. While some historical and political events are harder to determine as positive or negative, it is clear that there i s a relationship between these events and respondents' satisfaction with democracy and confidence in political parties. Although the hypothesized relationships between perceptions on crime, perceptions on the economy, and government legitimacy were not exh ibited in this study, this data exhibits how increasing and decreasing levels of government
! # legitimacy match up with significant historical and political dates in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Table 7 Table 8
! ## Table 9 Conclusion This study was designed to determine whether negative perceptions on crime and negative perceptions on the economy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia were accompanied by decreases in government legitimacy between the years 1998 2016. The results of this resea rch study show that although no definitive relationships between perceptions on crime, the economy, and government legitimacy were found in all three countries, there was a significant relationship between economic perceptions and government legitimacy in Brazil between 1998 2016. As discussed previously, there are many possible reasons for why this relationship was only found in Brazil. It is possible that economic downturns are weighted more heavily in Brazil because the economic state of the country has historically been better than Colombia and Mexico. It is also possible that the methodology and sampling techniques used by Latin o bar Â— metro were more reliable in Brazil than in the other two countries. Either way, more research must be done in
! #$ order to determine whether there is a significant relationship between economic perceptions and government legitimacy than is broadly represented in Latin American countries Crime perceptions did not seem to have any significant association to government legitima cy in any of the three countries in this study. As mentioned in the Data Analysis, this is likely due to the small sample number that was the product of missing data. This research study also sought out to conclude whether increases and decreases in gover nment legitimacy correspond to significant political or historical events in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia between the years 1998 2016. The results of this second portion of the data analysis found that increases and decreases in government legitimacy corre spond with significant political and historical events in all three countries. Incidents that were accompanied by decreases in government legitimacy in all three countries include (but are not limited to) corruption scandals, issues with public services, i mpeachments, drug violence, rebel attacks, and certain unfavorable election outcomes. Incidents that were accompanied by increases in government legitimacy in all three countries include (but are not limited to) favorable election outcomes, satisfactory ch anges in legislation, and triumphs over drug related and violent crime through legislation and government action In analyzing these results, it becomes clear that there are many intersections between government legitimacy, crime, and the economy. Several of the historical and political events that were found to correspond with increases and decreases in government legitimacy are related to crime and the economy. It is important to try and understand not only how changes in the economy and crime impact a c itizen's thoughts on their country's government; i t is also important to understand how legislative changes that have an effect on the economy and have an effect on crime can impact the way a citizen views the government system within their country.
! #% This s tudy has shown how these types of legislative changes and actions taken by the government directly impact the way in which citizens perceive the governing power of their countries. I believe that it is vital to focus on the power that legislation has over the growth of the economy and the management of crime in order to understand government legitimacy. It is much more difficult to change the economy or the level of crime in a country without doing so through legislative action. Through legislative action, I believe that a government has the power to improve the state of the economy and the level of crime within a nation and that this will, in turn, improve their own legitimacy. Understanding the level of influence that the government has on the economic state and the level of crime within a nation is key to benefiting th at nation and the citizens within it. Through this understanding, a government has the ability to ensure their own legitimacy amongst their nation's population. To generate more conclusive evidence for the relationship between government legitimacy and pe rceptions on crime and the relationship between government legitimacy and perceptions on the economy, more in depth research must be conducted. A study could yield better data if it took into consideration a much larger aggregate It would also be benefici al to extend the study for a longer period of time than ten years. Another improvement that could be made is the inclusion of more than two indicators for each variable. For example, perceptions on crime, perceptions on the economy, and government legitima cy could each be measured through several different survey questions. A future study could also provide more interest results if it determined whether certain legislative actions and government actions (like those in the second part of the data analysis in this study) were able to achieve their desired goals and if their succes s (or lack of success) impacted government legitimacy. The most important change that would have to be made in future research to produce more conclusive results would be to ensure th at
! #& there are little to no gaps in the data being sampled from. If all of these changes were to be made in future research, it is likely that it would be easier to draw decisive relationships between crime, the economy, and government legitimacy. Although there were several confounding factors that impeded the finding of conclusive results in this study the results provide some insight into what influences the government 's legitimacy within a country. This study determined that the most substantial factor in determining government legitimacy in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia between the years 1998 2016 was government action and legislative changes. Both government action and legislative changes that aimed towards improving the economy and improving the management of crime in all three countries, also had a positive impact on government legitimacy. As a result of this finding, I believe that it is important for a government to focus on how its actions and its legislation both have the power to benefit the nation economically and provide better security for citizens. Through these improvements, a government has the power to change its own legitimacy.
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! $* Silva, Maria Alejandra. 2017. "Alvaro Uribe: The Most Dangerous Man in Colombian Politics." Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Retrieved April 17, 2018 ( http://www.coha.org/alvaro uribe the most dangerous man in colombian politics/ Soares, Rodrigo and Joana Naritomi. 2010. "Understanding High Crime Rates in Latin America: The Role of Social and Policy Factors." The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved April 17, 2018 ( https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Joana_Naritomi/publication/252706887_Understan ding_High_Crime_Rates_in_Latin_America_The_Role_of_Social_and_Policy_Factors/li nks/545d09590cf2c1a63bfa5dfe.pdf) Stampini, M arco Marcos Robles, Mayra SÂ‡ anez Pablo IbarrarÂ‡ n and Nadin MedellÂ’ n 2015. "Poverty, Vulnerability, and the Middle Class in Latin America." Inter American Development Bank. Washington, D.C.: Inter American Development Bank. Retrieved April 17, 2018 ( https://publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/11319/6878/Poverty_vulnerability_and_th e_middle_class_in_Latin_America.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y)
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