IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/3123.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Private States and the Enforcement of Property Rights - Theory and Evidence on the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia

Author

Listed:
  • Bandiera, Oriana

Abstract

Historical records show that the Sicilian mafia initially developed to protect land from predatory attacks, at a time when publicly provided security was scarce and banditry widespread. Using a common-agency model, the Paper shows that: (i) it is optimal for each landowner to voluntarily buy protection even if this results in a worse equilibrium for the landowning class as a whole and (ii) other things equal, mafia profits are higher where land is more fragmented. The argument is based on the fact that protection involves an externality because by buying protection each landowner deflects thieves on others’ properties. Because of the externality, for each landlord protection is more valuable if they are one of the few to receive it, thus each landlord will be willing to pay more if some landlords are left out. Land fragmentation increases the number of landlords who would pay to keep some out, which in turn increases mafia’s profits. Using qualitative data from a parliamentary survey (1881), the Paper also shows that in 19th century rural Sicily mafia was in fact more likely to be active in towns were land was more divided.

Suggested Citation

  • Bandiera, Oriana, 2002. "Private States and the Enforcement of Property Rights - Theory and Evidence on the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia," CEPR Discussion Papers 3123, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3123
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=3123
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Frye, Timothy & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2000. "Rackets, Regulation, and the Rule of Law," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 478-502, October.
    2. Laussel, Didier & Le Breton, Michel, 2001. "Conflict and Cooperation: The Structure of Equilibrium Payoffs in Common Agency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 93-128, September.
    3. Skaperdas, S. & Syropoulos, C., 1993. "Gangs as Primitive States," Papers 92-93-02, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    4. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
    5. Moselle, Boaz & Polak, Benjamin, 2001. "A Model of a Predatory State," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-33, April.
    6. Grossman, Herschel I., 2002. ""Make us a king": anarchy, predation, and the state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 31-46, March.
    7. Braguinsky, Serguey, 1999. "Enforcement of Property Rights during the Russian Transition: Problems and Some Approaches to a New Liberal Solution," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 515-544, June.
    8. de Meza, David & Gould, J R, 1992. "The Social Efficiency of Private Decisions to Enforce Property Rights," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 561-580, June.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:03:p:567-576_10 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    common agency; property rights enforcement; protection; scicily-history;

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:cpr:ceprdp:3123. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.