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The structure of agricultural production and the causes of brigandage and criminal organisations in Italy after Unification: theory and evidence

Author

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  • Del Monte, Alfredo
  • Pennacchio, Luca

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to show that in the period after Italian Unification in 1861 two very important criminal phenomena in southern Italy, brigandage and organised crime, became rooted in the structure of rural and land organisation. We use econometrics to show that brigandage intensity was higher in the poorest areas of southern Italy where land ownership was highly concentrated and productivity was low. By contrast, using a different econometric exercise we show that organised crime developed only in the wealthiest areas. Empirical evidence also shows that there was an inverse relation between the intensity of brigandage and that of organised crime in the regions of the Mezzogiorno. Therefore, widespread brigandage was not the main cause of the development of organised crime, as suggested elsewhere (Gambetta, 1993; Bandiera, 2003). We develop a simple model to show that organised crime has a greater incentive to offer protection when economic development and land productivity are higher and the state is unable to provide adequate protection for property rights. The model is tested on the provinces in southern Italy in the late nineteenth century and then on Sicilian towns in the early 1900s.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38875
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38875/1/MPRA_paper_38875.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Carlo Ciccarelli & Stefano Fenoaltea, 2013. "Through the magnifying glass: provincial aspects of industrial growth in post-Unification Italy," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(1), pages 57-85, February.
    3. Guido de Blasio & Giorgio Nuzzo, 2010. "Historical Traditions Of Civicness And Local Economic Development," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 833-857.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Paolo Buonanno & Ruben Durante & Giovanni Prarolo & Giovanni Prarolo, 2013. "Rich Mines, Poor Institutions: Resource Curse and the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/16jvuuvsuc9, Sciences Po.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mafia; land productivity; land ownership; Mezzogiorno;

    JEL classification:

    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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