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Law enforcement and political participation: Italy, 1861–65

Author

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  • Accetturo, Antonio
  • Bugamelli, Matteo
  • Lamorgese, Andrea R.

Abstract

Does tougher law enforcement positively affect political participation? This paper addresses this question, which hinges upon the causal impact of formal institutions on informal ones, by using a historical event from 19th century Italy. This event was the Pica Law, which was introduced in 1863 to fight a surge of criminal violence in Southern Italy and to ensure a safer environment for wealthy people, the only ones allowed to vote at that time. Our main finding, obtained using a spatial regression discontinuity technique in a diff-in-diffs framework, is that voter turnout greatly increased in those areas where the Pica Law was applied, compared with bordering and otherwise similar areas. This result is confirmed by a number of robustness checks and placebo exercises and turns out to be persistent over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Accetturo, Antonio & Bugamelli, Matteo & Lamorgese, Andrea R., 2017. "Law enforcement and political participation: Italy, 1861–65," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 224-245.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:224-245
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.05.019
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Turnout; Electoral results; Spatial discontinuity;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis

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