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Trust and In-Group Favoritism in a Culture of Crime

  • Meier, Stephan

    ()

    (Columbia University)

  • Pierce, Lamar

    ()

    (Washington University, St. Louis)

  • Vaccaro, Antonino

    ()

    (University of Navarra)

Registered author(s):

    We use experiments in high schools in two neighborhoods in the metropolitan area of Palermo, Italy to experimentally demonstrate that the historical informal institution of organized crime can undermine current institutions, even in religiously and ethnically homogeneous populations. Using trust and prisoner's dilemma games, we found that students in a neighborhood with high Mafia involvement exhibit lower generalized trust and trustworthiness, but higher in-group favoritism, with punishment norms failing to resolve these deficits. Our study suggests that a culture of organized crime can affect adolescent norms and attitudes that might support a vicious cycle of in-group favoritism and crime that in turn hinders economic development.

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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8169.

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    Length: 67 pages
    Date of creation: May 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8169
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    1. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2247-57, December.
    2. 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).
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    8. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. M. Bigoni & S. Bortolotti & M. Casari & D. Gambetta & F. Pancotto, 2013. "Cooperation Hidden Frontiers: The Behavioral Foundations of the Italian North-South Divide," Working Papers wp882, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
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    11. Annamaria Nese & Arturo Palomba & Patrizia Sbriglia & Maurizio Scudiero, 2012. "Third party punishment and criminal behavior: an experiment with Italian Camorra prison inmates," Working Papers 3_226, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Statistiche, Università degli Studi di Salerno.
    12. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2010. "Inherited Trust and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2060-92, December.
    13. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
    14. Falk, Armin & Zehnder, Christian, 2013. "A city-wide experiment on trust discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 15-27.
    15. Maarten J. Voors & Eleonora E. M. Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin H. Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan P. Van Soest, 2012. "Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 941-64, April.
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    17. Michèle Belot & Raymond Duch & Luis Miller, 2010. "Who should be called to the lab? A comprehensive comparison of students and non-students in classic experimental games," Discussion Papers 2010001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
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