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Organized Crime, Violence, and Politics

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Abstract

We investigate how criminal organizations strategically use violence to influence elections in order to get captured politicians elected. The model offers novel testable implications about the use of pre-electoral violence under different types of electoral systems and different degrees of electoral competition. We test these implications by exploiting data on homicide rates in Italy since 1887, comparing the extent of “electoral-violence cycles” between areas with a higher and lower presence of organized crime, under democratic and non-democratic regimes, proportional and majoritarian elections, and between contested and non-contested districts. We provide additional evidence on the influence of organized crime on politics using parliamentary speeches of politicians elected in Sicily during the period 1945-2013.

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  • Alberto Alesina & Salvatore Piccolo & Paolo Pinotti, 2016. "Organized Crime, Violence, and Politics," CSEF Working Papers 433, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:433
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    organized crime; electoral violence; voting; political discourse;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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