Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, University of Chicago
Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
The city of Bogotá set out to reduce crime and increase state legitimacy by raising state presence on city streets: either increasing police time by two thirds, or delivering clean up and lighting services. In their new paper, Christopher Blattman and his co-authors find that these large and sustained increases in state presence have relatively modest effects on crime, violence, and state legitimacy. They conclude that there may be returns to a more focused approach: increasing and concentrating efforts on the places with the greatest need and least prior state presence.