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Mafia in the ballot box

Author

Listed:
  • Giuseppe De Feo

    (: Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia)

  • Giacomo De Luca

    (University of York)

Abstract

We study the impact of organized crime on electoral competition. Assuming that the mafia is able to bring votes to the supported party in exchange of money, we show that (i) the strongest party is willing to pay the highest price to secure mafia services; (ii) the volume of electoral trade with the mafia increases with political competition and with the efficiency of the mafia. Studying in detail parliamentary elections in Sicily for the period 1946- 1992, we document the significant support given by the Sicilian Mafia to the Christian Democratic party, starting at least from the 1970s. This is consistent with our theoretical predictions, as political competition became much tighter during the 1970s and the Sicilian mafia experienced an extensive centralization process towards the end of the 1960s, which increased substantially its control of the territory. We also provide evidence that in exchange for its electoral support the mafia got economic advantages for its activities in the construction industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuseppe De Feo & Giacomo De Luca, 2013. "Mafia in the ballot box," DEM Working Papers Series 057, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:pav:demwpp:demwp0057
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    electoral competition; mafia; Cosa Nostra; electoral fraud;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods

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