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Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse in the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia

Paolo Buonanno, Ruben Durante, Giovanni Prarolo () and Paolo Vanin ()

Economic Journal, 2015, vol. 125, issue 586, F175-F202

Abstract: With weak law†enforcement institutions, a positive shock to the value of natural resources may increase demand for private protection and opportunities for rent appropriation through extortion, favouring the emergence of mafia†type organisations. We test this hypothesis by investigating the emergence of the mafia in twentieth century Sicily, where a severe lack of state property†rights enforcement coincided with a steep rise in international demand for sulphur, Sicily's most valuable export commodity. Using historical data on the early incidence of mafia activity and on the distribution of sulphur reserves, we document that the mafia was more present in municipalities with greater sulphur availability.

Date: 2015
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https://doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12236

Related works:
Working Paper: Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse and the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse and the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Poor institutions, rich mines: resource curse and the origins of the Sicilian mafia (2012) Downloads
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Economic Journal is currently edited by Estelle Cantillon, Martin Cripps, Andrea Galeotti, Morten Ravn, Kjell G. Salvanes, Frederic Vermeulen, Hans-Joachim Voth and Rachel Kranton

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