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Title: Essays on political and criminal violence
Author: Freire, Danilo Alves Mendes
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 1116
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis addresses three topics in political and criminal violence. The first essay is an empirical evaluation of a broad set of homicide reduction policies implemented in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. I employ the synthetic control method, a generalisation of differences-in-differences, to compare these measures against an artificial Sao Paulo. The results indicate a large drop in homicide rates in actual Sao Paulo when contrasted with the synthetic counterfactual, with about 20,000 lives saved during the period. The second essay offers a rational choice account for the Brazil's jogo do bicho, or the 'animal game', possibly the largest illegal gambling game in the world. I investigate the institutions that have caused the jogo do bicho's notable growth and long-term survival outside the boundaries of the Brazilian law. I show how bicheiros or bookmakers promote social order, solve information asymmetries, and reduce negative externalities via costly signalling and the provision of club goods. I also explain the emergence of the informal rules that govern the game as well as their enforcement mechanisms. In the third essay, I employ extreme bounds analysis and distributed random forests to identify the key determinants of state-sponsored violence. Although scholars have suggested a number of potential correlates of mass killings, it remains unclear whether the estimates are robust to different model specifications, or which variables accurately predict the onset of large-scale violence. I employ extreme bounds analysis and random forests to test the sensitivity of 40 variables on a sample of 177 countries from 1945 to 2013. The results help clear the brush around mass killings, as few variables in this literature are robust determinants of atrocity. However, support for an opportunity logic persists as greater constraints on a government limit its ability to employ barbarous tactics. It appears that the Conflict Trap applies to government atrocity. Atrocity breeds atrocity, while wealthy stable democracies tend to avoid episodes of mass killing.
Supervisor: Leon Ablan, Gabriel Jose ; Skarbek, David Benjamin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available