73rd International Atlantic Economic Conference
Business Perceptions of Drug Cartels: Views from El Paso, Texas
Alejandro J. Palma
Dennis L. Soden
Institute for Policy and Economic Development
University of Texas at El Paso
500 W University Avenue, KEH 414
El Paso, Texas 79968-0703
The rise of turf wars between competing drug cartels in northern Mexico has brought international attention to the region. As one of the largest manufacturing regions in North America, a logistical center for NAFTA related trading, and the center of most professional services in the U.S./Mexico mid-border region, the violence associated with the drug wars has brought unwanted attention to this part of the world. Ironically, as the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez is named one of the world’s most violent cities, neighboring El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States.
In this setting a survey was conducted among El Paso business owners in the central area known as the Downtown Management District (DMD) in spring 2011, providing a seldom seen insight into the views of businesses in an area in immediate proximity to extreme transnational cartel activity. The focus on planning for improvement in the central downtown region permitted the use of several questions that asked about the impact that violence in Ciudad Juárez had on business operations and performance, as well as planning for the near future.
Preliminary findings suggest that business respondents do feel that the violence in Ciudad Juárez has had an impact on business in central El Paso; however, proximity to Ciudad Juárez is not seen as a major disadvantage to business operations. In this paper we explore how business characteristics and business perceptions about the future of the DMD area impact perceptions related to violence in Ciudad Juárez.