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Mafias as Enforcers

Listed author(s):
  • James E. Anderson


    (Boston College)

  • Oriana Bandiera

    (London School of Economics)

Historical evidence suggests that Mafias originally formed to provide enforcement of legitimate property rights when state enforcement was weak. We provide a general equilibrium model of Mafias as enforcement coalitions which protect property from predators. Both the level of predation and the type of enforcement ≥ self-enforcement, specialized competitive enforcement and Mafia enforcement ≥ are endogenous. We identify the conditions under which a coalition emerges and persists and show that Mafias are most likely to be found at intermediate stages of economic development. We also show that Mafias might provide better enforcement to the rich than would a welfare-maximizing state, suggesting a difficulty in the emergence and persistence of state provision of enforcement.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 480.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 25 Oct 2000
Publication status: published, Journal of Development Economics, 2005, 77, 341-66
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:480
Note: published as "Private Enforcement and Social Efficiency"
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Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA

Phone: 617-552-3670
Fax: +1-617-552-2308
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  1. Syropoulos, C. & Skeperdas, S., 1993. "Gangs as Primitive States," Papers 10-93-25, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
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