IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ieb/wpaper/2012-6-doc2012-29.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Poor institutions, rich mines: resource curse and the origins of the Sicilian mafia

Author

Listed:
  • Paolo Buonanno

    () (University of Bergamo)

  • Ruben Durante

    () (Sciences Po)

  • Giovanni Prarolo

    () (University of Bologna)

  • Paolo Vanin

    () (University of Bologna)

Abstract

This study explains the emergence of the Sicilian mafia in the XIX century as the product of the interaction between natural resource abundance and weak institutions. We advance the hypothesis that the mafia emerged after the collapse of the Bourbon Kingdom in a context characterized by a severe lack of state property-right enforcement in response to the rising demand for the protection of sulfur - Sicily's most valuable export commodity - whose demand in the international markets was soaring at the time. We test this hypothesis combining data on the early presence of the mafia and on the distribution of sulfur reserves across Sicilian municipalities and find evidence of a positive and significant effect of sulphur availability on mafia's diffusion. These results remain unchanged when including department fixed-effects and various geographical and historical controls, when controlling for spatial correlation, and when comparing pairs of neighboring municipalities with and without sulfur.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Buonanno & Ruben Durante & Giovanni Prarolo & Paolo Vanin, 2012. "Poor institutions, rich mines: resource curse and the origins of the Sicilian mafia," Working Papers 2012/29, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2012/6/doc2012-29
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ieb.ub.edu/phocadownload/documentostrabajo/doc2012-29.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    2. Nathan Nunn & Diego Puga, 2012. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 20-36, February.
    3. Göran Therborn & K.C. Ho, 2009. "Introduction," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 53-62, March.
    4. Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2010. "Trade and Geography in the Economic Origins of Islam: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2010.75, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. repec:rie:review:v:17:y:2012:i:3:n:2 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mastrobuoni Giovanni & Patacchini Eleonora, 2012. "Organized Crime Networks: an Application of Network Analysis Techniques to the American Mafia," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-43, September.
    7. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2012. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1508-1539, June.
    8. Anderson, James E. & Bandiera, Oriana, 2005. "Private enforcement and social efficiency," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 341-366, August.
    9. Paolo Buonanno & Giacomo Pasini & Paolo Vanin, 2012. "Crime and social sanction," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(1), pages 193-218, March.
    10. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Cursed by Resources or Institutions?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 1117-1131, August.
    11. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    12. Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2010. "The Natural Resource Curse: A Survey," Scholarly Articles 4454156, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    13. Oriana Bandiera, 2003. "Land Reform, the Market for Protection, and the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 218-244, April.
    14. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    16. Varese, Federico, 2005. "The Russian Mafia: Private Protection in a New Market Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279494.
    17. Kai Konrad & Stergios Skaperdas, 2012. "The market for protection and the origin of the state," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 50(2), pages 417-443, June.
    18. Dimico, Arcangelo & Isopi, Alessia & Olsson, Ola, 2017. "Origins of the Sicilian Mafia: The Market for Lemons," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(04), pages 1083-1115, December.
    19. Del Monte, Alfredo & Pennacchio, Luca, 2011. "The structure of agricultural production and the causes of brigandage and criminal organisations in Italy after Unification: theory and evidence," MPRA Paper 38875, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    21. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 225-258, December.
    22. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Meier, Stephan & Pierce, Lamar & Vaccaro, Antonino, 2014. "Trust and In-Group Favoritism in a Culture of Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 8169, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1564-1610 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kyriakos C. Neanidis & Maria Paola Rana, 2014. "Entrepreneurs, Risk Aversion and Dynamic Firms," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 190, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    4. repec:oup:jeurec:v:15:y:2017:i:3:p:558-585. is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mathieu Couttenier & Pauline Grosjean & Marc Sangnier, 2017. "The Wild West IS Wild: The Homicide Resource Curse," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 558-585.
    6. Giuseppe De Feo & Giacomo Davide De Luca, 2017. "Mafia in the Ballot Box," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 134-167, August.
    7. P. Buonanno & G. Prarolo & P. Vanin, 2014. "Organized Crime and Electoral Outcomes in Sicily," Working Papers wp965, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. repec:esx:essedp:763 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Guglielmo Barone & Gaia Narciso, 2011. "The effect of mafia on public transfers," Trinity Economics Papers tep2111, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    10. Nicolas Berman & Mathieu Couttenier & Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig, 2017. "This Mine Is Mine! How Minerals Fuel Conflicts in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(6), pages 1564-1610, June.
    11. Juan Camilo Castillo, Daniel Mejia, and Pascual Restrepo, 2014. "Scarcity without Leviathan: The Violent Effects of Cocaine Supply Shortages in the Mexican Drug War - Working Paper 356," Working Papers 356, Center for Global Development.
    12. Guglielmo Barone & Gaia Narciso, 2013. "The effect of organized crime on public funds," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 916, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural resource curse; weak institutions; mafia-type organizations;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

    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:ieb:wpaper:2012/6/doc2012-29. 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: http://edirc.repec.org/data/iebubes.html .

    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.