Origins of the Sicilian Mafia: The Market for Lemons
Since its first appearance in the late 1800s, the origins of the Sicilian mafia have remained a largely unresolved mystery. Both institutional and historical explanations have been proposed in the literature through the years. In this paper, we develop an argument for a market structure -hypothesis, contending that mafia arose in towns where firms made unusually high pro…ts due to imperfect competition. We identify the produc- tion of citrus fruits as a sector with very high international demand as well as substantial fixed costs that acted as a barrier to entry in many places and secured high profits in others. We argue that the mafia arose out of the need to protect citrus production from predation by thieves. Using the original data from a parliamentary inquiry in 1881-86 on Sicilian towns, we show that mafia presence is strongly related to the production of orange and lemon. This result contrasts recent work that emphasizes the importance of land reforms and a broadening of property rights as the main reason for the emergence of mafia protection.
|Date of creation:||02 May 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011.
"Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
- Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2004.
"Institutions and the Resource Curse,"
DEGIT Conference Papers
c009_012, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
- Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2002. "Institutions and the resource curse," GE, Growth, Math methods 0210004, EconWPA.
- Mehlum, Halvor & Moene, Karl-Ove & Torvik, Ragnar, 2003. "Institutions and the resource curse," Memorandum 29/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
- Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2002. "Institutions and the resource curse," Development and Comp Systems 0210003, EconWPA.
- Buonanno, Paolo & Durante, Ruben & Prarolo, Giovanni & Vanin, Paolo, 2011. "On the historical and geographic origins of the Sicilian mafia," MPRA Paper 37009, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Feb 2012.
- Smith, Rodney T, 1976. "The Legal and Illegal Markets for Taxed Goods: Pure Theory and an Application to State Government Taxation of Distilled Spirits," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 393-429, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0532. 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: (Marie Andersson)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.