Political Science Research and Methods

Can political alignment reduce crime? Evidence from Chile


Carla Alberti

Giancarlo Visconti, Diego Díaz–Rioseco


Research has shown that presidents tend to benefit local level copartisans when distributing resources, which can improve the provision of public goods, such as security. Considering that fear of crime is among the main concerns of citizens worldwide, we examine whether alignment affects criminality.


Drawing on rich administrative data from Chile and a regression discontinuity design in close electoral races, we study the impact of alignment on a broad set of crimes against the person and property-related. We show that aligned municipalities experience a significant reduction in crimes that both affect property and occur in public. As a potential mechanism, we find that aligned municipalities receive more projects to improve urban infrastructure, thus making public spaces less vulnerable to crime.