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Agricultural Productivity, Banditry and Criminal Organisations in Post-Unification Italy

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  • Alfredo DEL MONTE

    ()
    (Universita' di Napoli "Federico II")

  • Luca PENNACCHIO

    ()
    (Universita' di Napoli "Federico II")

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to show that in the period after Italian unification in 1861 two very important criminal phenomena in Southern Italy, banditry and organised crime, became rooted in the structure of rural and land organisation. We develop a simple model to show that organised crime has a greater incentive to offer protection when economic development and land productivity are relatively high and the state is unable to provide adequate protection for property rights. The model is tested on the provinces in Southern Italy in the late nineteenth century and then on Sicilian towns in the early 1900s. Other findings suggest that banditry spread in the poorest areas of the South where land ownership was highly concentrated and productivity was low. On the other hand, organised crime developed only in the wealthiest areas. Finally, there was an inverse relation between the intensity of banditry and that of organised crime.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by SIE - Societa' Italiana degli Economisti (I) in its journal Rivista Italiana degli Economisti.

Volume (Year): 17 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 347-378

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Handle: RePEc:rie:review:v:17:y:2012:i:3:n:2

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Keywords: Banditry; Land ownership; Land productivity; Mafia;

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References

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  1. Oriana Bandiera, 2003. "Land Reform, the Market for Protection, and the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 218-244, April.
  2. Carlo Ciccarelli & Stefano Fenoaltea, 2013. "Through the magnifying glass: provincial aspects of industrial growth in post-Unification Italy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(1), pages 57-85, 02.
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Cited by:
  1. Paolo Buonanno & Ruben Durante & Giovanni Prarolo & Paolo Vanin, 2012. "Poor institutions, rich mines: resource curse and the origins of the Sicilian mafia," Working Papers 2012/29, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  2. Giuseppe De Feo & Giacomo De Luca, 2013. "Mafia in the ballot box," DEM Working Papers Series 057, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.

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