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This paper asks whether scarcity increases violence in markets that lack a centralized authority. We construct a model in which, by raising prices, scarcity fosters violence. Guided by our model, we examine the link between scarcity and violence in the Mexican cocaine trade. At a monthly frequency, scarcity created by cocaine seizures in Colombia-Mexico's main cocaine supplier-increases violence in Mexico. The effects are larger in municipalities near the US, with multiple cartels, and withdoi:10.2139/ssrn.2409268 fatcat:eouwgsuemvhxpic3gfoton4zv4