Policymakers face many roadblocks in their pursuit to implement policies that reduce violence and improve rule of law, including a lack of time to review the available expertise. In order to probe these issues, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the World Justice Project, and Stanford University joined together to convene “Violence and Improving Rule of Law: Organized Crime, Marginalized Communities and the Political Machine.”

The invitation-only workshop brought together top researchers, practitioners, and government policymakers in order to facilitate collaboration amongst them with the main goal of catalyzing opportunities for producing policy-relevant research that can be put into action. It targeted three spheres: reducing violence from political parties and elections, reducing violence by gangs, youth, and the state in marginalized communities, and reducing violence from organized crime.

Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Beatriz Magaloni of Stanford University, and Alejandro Ponce, chief research officer of the World Justice Project, led the expert group to discuss each of these arenas and create a policy-relevant research agenda. Discussions of Electoral Commissions affirmed the need for their neutrality and for substantial police support to expel electoral violence. Other discourse focused on the problem of criminal organizations and how to most effectively move forward with drug policies.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the World Justice Project authored a literature review that served as a base for the participants to begin their discussions.

Rachel Kleinfeld

Rachel Kleinfeld is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she focuses on issues of security and governance in post-conflict countries, fragile states, and countries transitioning to democracy. She is also founder and president emeritus of the Truman National Security Project.

Beatriz Magaloni

Beatriz Magaloni is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Her research focuses on governance, electoral clientelism, and criminal violence.

Alejandro Ponce

Alejandro Ponce is the chief research officer of the World Justice Project (WJP). He joined the WJP as senior economist and is one of the original designers and a lead author of the WJP Rule of Law Index. He previously worked as a researcher at Yale University and an economist at the World Bank.