IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/wly/econjl/v125y2015i586pf175-f202.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

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

Author

Listed:
  • Paolo Buonanno
  • Ruben Durante
  • Giovanni Prarolo
  • Paolo Vanin

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:125:y:2015:i:586:p:f175-f202
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12236
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    2. Nathan Nunn & Diego Puga, 2012. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 20-36, February.
    3. Göran Therborn & K.C. Ho, 2009. "Introduction," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 53-62, March.
    4. Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2010. "Trade and Geography in the Economic Origins of Islam: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2010.75, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. repec:rie:review:v:17:y:2012:i:3:n:2 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
    7. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2012. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1508-1539, June.
    8. Anderson, James E. & Bandiera, Oriana, 2005. "Private enforcement and social efficiency," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 341-366, August.
    9. Paolo Buonanno & Giacomo Pasini & Paolo Vanin, 2012. "Crime and social sanction," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(1), pages 193-218, March.
    10. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Cursed by Resources or Institutions?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 1117-1131, August.
    11. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    12. 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.
    13. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    15. Varese, Federico, 2005. "The Russian Mafia: Private Protection in a New Market Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279494.
    16. Kai Konrad & Stergios Skaperdas, 2012. "The market for protection and the origin of the state," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 50(2), pages 417-443, June.
    17. Dimico, Arcangelo & Isopi, Alessia & Olsson, Ola, 2017. "Origins of the Sicilian Mafia: The Market for Lemons," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(04), pages 1083-1115, December.
    18. Del Monte, Alfredo & Pennacchio, Luca, 2011. "The structure of agricultural production and the causes of brigandage and criminal organisations in Italy after Unification: theory and evidence," MPRA Paper 38875, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    20. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 225-258, December.
    21. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:125:y:2015:i:586:p:f175-f202. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/resssea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.