Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jordan Branch

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© 2023 Alessandra V Diaz


Since the end of the Cold War, countless communities have been severely impacted by the parasitical nature of the criminal drug trade. Although a “hot topic” issue, there has been little advancement in solving the crime epidemic. Current and past policies have had little or negative effects on the victims from organized crime. This thesis aims to answer the question “what causes illicit economies to take place and where”. After giving some background on the topic, on historical cases and current trends, a comparison between two popular theories will provide different perspectives on the matter. The more convincing, “weak state capacity” model focuses on the Latin American cocaine trade. Therefore, to add to its validity, I will apply it to the Central Asian Opium trade to see if the theory holds up across regions. This paper helps clarify the cause of the illicit drug economies so that the knowledge can serve to make more sustainable prevention policies.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.