EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Weak States: Causes and Consequences of the Sicilian Mafia

Daron Acemoglu, Giuseppe De Feo and Giacomo De Luca ()

No 12530, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We document that the spread of the Mafia in Sicily at the end of the 19th century was in part shaped by the rise of socialist Peasant Fasci organizations. In an environment with weak state presence, this socialist threat triggered landholders, estate managers and local politicians to turn to the Mafia to resist and combat peasant demands. We show that the location of the Peasant Fasci is significantly affected by an exceptionally severe drought in 1893, and using information on rainfall, we establish the causal effect of the Peasant Fasci on the location of the Mafia in 1900. We provide extensive evidence that rainfall before and after this critical period has no effect on the spread of the Mafia or various economic and political outcomes. In the second part of the paper, we use the source of variation in the location of the Mafia in 1900 to estimate its medium-term and long-term effects. We find significant and quantitatively large negative impacts of the Mafia on literacy and various public goods in the 1910s and 20s. We also show a sizable impact of the Mafia on political competition, which could be one of the channels via which it affected local economic outcomes. We document negative effects of the Mafia on longer-term outcomes (in the 1960s, 70s and 80s) as well, but these are in general weaker and often only marginally significant. One exception is its persistent and strong impact on political competition.

Keywords: criminal organizations; economic development; Mafia; Political Competition; weak states (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H11 H75 K42 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gro, nep-his and nep-law
Date: 2017-12
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12530 (application/pdf)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

Related works:
Working Paper: Weak States: Causes and Consequences of the Sicilian Mafia (2017) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12530

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.cepr.org/ ... rs/dp.php?dpno=12530

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2019-09-26
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12530