Cities are complex regulatory environments. Attempts to regulate urban behavior create opportunities for politicians to manipulate enforcement to win votes and reward supporters. While some politicians choose not to enforce regulations, or forbearance, others undercut their intent, or dilution. Empirical research on enforcement has lagged behind due to the identification challenges in distinguishing weak state capacity from political manipulations. We develop a structured approach to process tracing that follows enforcement decisions sequentially across bureaucracies and specifies statistical distributions as counterfactuals to identify the causes of limited enforcement. We illustrate these strategies through original data on enforcement against squatters in urban Colombia and the provision of building permits in urban Turkey. Enforcement process tracing helps to document a form of distributive politics that is common to cities in the developing world.