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Organized Crime Networks: an Application of Network Analysis Techniques to the American Mafia

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  • Mastrobuoni Giovanni

    (Collegio Carlo Alberto)

  • Patacchini Eleonora

    (La Sapienza Università di Roma, EIEF, CEPR and IZA)

Abstract

Using a unique data set on criminal profiles of 800 US Mafia members active in the 1950s and 1960s and on their connections within the Cosa Nostra network, we use simple network analysis techniques to document the structure and composition of the geometry of criminal ties between mobsters. The use of different network centrality measures allows us to collect evidence in line with so far only conjectured views on the functioning of the Mafia. In particular, we shed light on the extent to which family relationships, community roots and ties, legal and illegal activities predict the criminal ranking of the “men of honor,” suggesting the main characteristics that can be used to detect criminal leaders. Our results are remarkably in line with the evidence that mafia organizations tend to be extremely hierarchical.

Suggested Citation

  • Mastrobuoni Giovanni & Patacchini Eleonora, 2012. "Organized Crime Networks: an Application of Network Analysis Techniques to the American Mafia," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-43, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rneart:v:11:y:2012:i:3:n:10
    DOI: 10.1515/1446-9022.1324
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2013. "The Value of Connections: Evidence from the Italian-American Mafia," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 335, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    2. Buonanno, Paolo & Durante, Ruben & Prarolo, Giovanni & Vanin, Paolo, 2011. "On the historical and geographic origins of the Sicilian mafia," MPRA Paper 37009, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Feb 2012.
    3. Paolo Buonanno & Ruben Durante & Giovanni Prarolo & Paolo Vanin, 2015. "Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse in the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(586), pages 175-202, August.
    4. Emily G. Owens, 2014. "The American Temperance Movement and Market-Based Violence," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 433-472.
    5. Arun Advani & Bansi Malde, 2018. "Credibly Identifying Social Effects: Accounting For Network Formation And Measurement Error," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 1016-1044, September.
    6. Lindquist, Matthew & Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Key Players in Co-Offending Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 9889, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Hahn, Youjin & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Network Structure and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 8872, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Lonsky, Jakub, 2020. "Gulags, crime, and elite violence : origins and consequences of the Russian mafia," BOFIT Discussion Papers 24/2020, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    9. Lehne, Jonathan & Shapiro, Jacob N. & Vanden Eynde, Oliver, 2018. "Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 62-78.
    10. Nicola Giuseppe Castellano & Roy Cerqueti & Bruno Maria Franceschetti, 2021. "Evaluating risks-based communities of Mafia companies: a complex networks perspective," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 57(4), pages 1463-1486, November.
    11. Youjin Hahn & Asadul Islam & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2015. "Teams, Organization and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a field experiment in Bangladesh," Monash Economics Working Papers 35-15, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    12. Díaz, Carlos & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2021. "Leaders in juvenile crime," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 638-667.
    13. Antinyan, Armenak & Horváth, Gergely & Jia, Mofei, 2020. "Positional concerns and social network structure: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    14. Lucia Cavallaro & Annamaria Ficara & Pasquale De Meo & Giacomo Fiumara & Salvatore Catanese & Ovidiu Bagdasar & Wei Song & Antonio Liotta, 2020. "Disrupting resilient criminal networks through data analysis: The case of Sicilian Mafia," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(8), pages 1-22, August.
    15. Nikos Bozionelos, 2014. "Careers Patterns in Greek Academia: Social Capital and Intelligent Careers, but for Whom?," Post-Print hal-01016605, HAL.
    16. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Zenou, Yves, 2019. "Crime and Networks: 10 Policy Lessons," IZA Discussion Papers 12534, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Timo Hiller, 2017. "Too Big to Jail? Key-Player Policies When the Network is Endogenous," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 17/693, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    18. Boduszek, Daniel & Debowska, Agata & Sharratt, Kathryn & McDermott, Danielle & Sherretts, Nicole & Willmott, Dominic & Popiolek, Katarzyna & Hyland, Philip, 2021. "Pathways between types of crime and criminal social identity: A network approach," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    19. Lonsky, Jakub, 2020. "Gulags, Crime, and Elite Violence: Origins and Consequences of the Russian Mafia," GLO Discussion Paper Series 711, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    20. Luigi Balletta & Andrea Mario Lavezzi, 2019. "The Economics of Extortion: Theory and Evidence on the Sicilian Mafia," Discussion Papers 2019/242, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

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