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Previously, Raul earned a master's degree in Political Science from El Colegio de México and a bachelor's degree in Political Science and Public Administration at the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM). He was a teaching lecturer in FES Acatlán, UNAM, on economic policy, comparative politics and international relations theory.

In his professional career, Raul has been Junior Officer on Democratic Culture and Peace in the Morelos Government, a Junior Researcher on Mexican politics at the Institute Belisario Dominguez of the Mexican Senate, external advisor on legislative affairs for the Undersecretary of Budget of the Mexican Finance Secretariat, and Director General of Legislative Liaison of the Secretariat of Economy.

He is part of the Noria Research Programme for Mexico and Central America, the Urban Violence Research Network, the Seminar of Violence and Peace of El Colegio de México, the International Political Science Association, and the British International Studies Association.

His website can be found here.

Research Interests 

  • The political economy of conflict
  • Sociology of armed groups
  • Disaster management and climate crisis
  • Civil-military relations
  • Mexican Politics
  • Politics of inequality
  • Peacekeeping and peacebuilding
  • Education policy

PhD Research

Development, Violent Conflict and Youth Recruitment by Organised Crime: The Mexican Case

Drawing from sociology, economics, organised crime and civil war literature, this research project aims to understand the relationship between macro-socioeconomic structures and micro-motivations behind the massive recruitment of young males into criminal organisations after the onset of the violent 'war on drugs in Mexico in 2006. Using a mixed-methods approach, one of the main objectives of this study is to build a middle-range theory of the political economy of violent conflict related to organised crime in developing countries.

A particular focus of this project is to comprehend how inequality, social mobility and development geographical divergences in Mexico are part of a structuration scheme that creates significance for a young male to participate in violent activities that enabled drug-related organisations to recruit enough persons to confront the militarised prosecution of the Mexican government.

Primarily, this research purpose is to find how the youth male bulge Mexico and his precarious conditions of low social mobility, low education rates and underemployment created a 'reserve army of labour' for enriched drug-related organisations, and to frame how narco culture, individualistic aspirations and violent male roles motivated youth for participating in violent activities


Dr. Sukanya Podder

Prof. Mats Berdal

Peer reviewed publications

  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2018), "Violence in Tierra Caliente: Income inequality, economic development and education rates in the Mexican drug war", Estudios Sociológicos, 36(106), January, pp. 126-163. [In Spanish]
  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2018), "Seven explanatory approaches about the increasing of violence in Mexico", Política y gobierno, 25(1), January, pp. 185-211.
  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2016), "The Game of Budget Allocation for the State Public Universities in Mexico after Mexico's transition to democracy", Revista Mexicana de Investigación Educativa, 21(70), July, pp. 901-928. [In Spanish]
  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2016), "Democracy, the Military and Mexico's Foreign Policy: The Case of the Absence of Mexican Military in Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations", Foro Internacional, 56(225), July, pp. 633-656. [In Spanish]

Book chapters

  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2019), “Homicide in Michoacan: Statistical tendencies from 1990 to 2015”, in Maldonado Aranda, Salvador (ed), Michoacán: violencia, inseguridad y Estado de derecho. Zamora: El Colegio de Michoacan, p. 53-72. [In Spanish]
  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2018), “Which State to Build Peace in Mexico?”, In Zepeda Gil, Raul & Aguayo Quezada, Sergio (eds.). Statebuilding and Peacebuilding in Mexico: Memories from the Second Conference on Violence and Peace. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, pp. 13-30. [In Spanish]
  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2017), “Violence in Michoacán: from the Turf War to the Capture of the State Government”, in Benitez Manaut, Raul -& Aguayo Quezada, Sergio, Atlas de la Seguridad y la Defensa 2016, Instituto Belisario Domínguez, Mexican Senate, Mexico, pp. 191-205. [In Spanish]

Conference presentations

  • Zepeda Gil, R. (2021). "The Debate about the definition of the Mexican Violent Conflict:: towards a useful concept". World Congress of Political Science - Online, Lisbon, Portugal

Book chapters

  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2022), " The Political Economy of the Criminal War in Tierra Caliente, Mexico", In Solar, Carlos & Perez Ricart, Carlos (eds.) Crime, Violence, and Justice in Latin America: Themes and Trends. London: Routledge.
  • Zepeda Gil, Raul (2018), "Which State to Build Peace in Mexico?", In Zepeda Gil, Raul & Aguayo Quezada, Sergio (eds.). Statebuilding and Peacebuilding in Mexico: Memories from the Second Conference on Violence and Peace. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, pp. 13-30. [In Spanish]

Technical reports

  • Zepeda Gil, R., & Vargas Pineda, L. R. (2021). Global Britain: Views from abroad: Mexico. The UK in a Changing Europe.
  • Zepeda Gil, R. (2020). Fin a la guerra. Una agenda para la paz, la justicia y los derechos humanos en México. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
  • Zepeda Gil, Raul; Huerta Pineda, Alejandra; Sánchez Correa, Mara Karina y Sánchez Ramírez, María Cristina (2018), Mexico's climate change vulnerability: A Review of the National Risk Management System, Instituto Belisario Domínguez, Mexican Senate. [In Spanish]
  • Galindo, Carlos; Gómez, Mara; Zepeda Gil, Raul y Castellanos, Roberto (2017), “Internal security: elements for debate”, Temas Estratégicos, (39), Instituto Belisario Domínguez, Mexican Senate. [In Spanish]