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Self-selecting candidates or compelling voters: How organized crime affects political selection

Anna Laura Baraldi, Giovanni Immordino () and Marco Stimolo

European Journal of Political Economy, 2022, vol. 71, issue C

Abstract: Using data on mayoral candidates and elected mayors in Italian municipalities, this paper aims to unveil the mechanism underlying the evidence that organized crime lowers politicians’ quality. We exploit the dissolution of city governments for presumed mafia infiltration as an exogenous shock to the presence of organized crime in local politics. We implement a difference-in-differences methodology to test whether organized crime discourages qualified individuals to run for elections. Our results indicate that the active presence of organized crime does not prevent highly qualified candidates from running but does induce citizens to vote for less qualified ones. The identification of the channel through which organized crime influences local politics is important to better direct public intervention against mafia infiltration.

Keywords: Organized crime; Politician’s quality; Political self-selection; Voters’ behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H70 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2021.102133

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European Journal of Political Economy is currently edited by J. De Haan, A. L. Hillman and H. W. Ursprung

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