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Social Variables and Economics Success: The Case of Italian Industrial Development


  • Giovanni Peri

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)


Italy makes for a very interesting case study of the impact of social variables on economic performance. Across its provinces, differences in social and cultural attitudes seem associated to large differences in economic development. We analyze the importance of some social variables on industrialization and on employment creation across 95 Italian provinces during the period 1951-1991. On one hand we find little evidence that civic involvement (Social Capital) was associated with industrial and economic development. On the other hand we find strong evidence that organized crime, measured as high murder rates, was negatively correlated with industrial and economic development. We use measures of murder rates in the distant past to suggest that the correlation captures, at least in part, a stable and possibly causal link between organized crime and lack of employment growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Peri, 2004. "Social Variables and Economics Success: The Case of Italian Industrial Development," Working Papers 42, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:04-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2004. "Development, crime and punishment: accounting for the international differences in crime rates," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 155-184, February.
    2. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
    3. Jonathan Temple & Paul A. Johnson, 1998. "Social Capability and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 965-990.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Daniele Coniglio & Giuseppe Celi & Cosimo Scagliusi, 2010. "Organized Crime, Migration and Human Capital Formation: Evidence from the South of Italy," SERIES 0028, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Mar 2010.

    More about this item


    Industrial Development; Regional Productivity; Italian Provinces; Civic Spirit; Murder Rates;

    JEL classification:

    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe


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