Private States and the Enforcement of Property Rights - Theory and Evidence on the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia
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.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2002|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- 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.
- Skaperdas, S. & Syropoulos, C., 1993.
"Gangs as Primitive States,"
92-93-02, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- 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.
- Frye, Timothy & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2001. "Rackets, Regulation and the Rule of Law," CEPR Discussion Papers 2716, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Timothy Frye & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2000. "Rackets, Regulation and the Rule of Law," Working Papers w0002, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
- Herschel I. Grossman, 1997.
""Make Us a King": Anarchy, Predation, and the State,"
NBER Working Papers
6289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.
- LAUSSEL, Didier & LE BRETON, Michel, "undated".
"Conflict and cooperation. The structure of equilibrium payoffs in common agency,"
CORE Discussion Papers RP
1519, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- 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.
- 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.
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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.