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Rich Mines, Poor Institutions: Resource Curse and the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia

Abstract : Under weak law-enforcement institutions, a positive shock to the value of natural resources can increase demand for private protection and opportunities for rent appropriation through extortion, ultimately favoring the emergence of mafia-type organizations specialized in such activities. Using a newly collected municipal level dataset, we test this hypothesis by investigating mafia’s emergence in XIX century Sicily, where a severe lack of state property-right enforcement coincided with a steep rise in international demand for sulfur, Sicily’s most valuable export commodity. Consistently with this hypothesis, we find robust evidence of significantly higher early mafia activity in municipalities with greater sulfur availability.
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Preprints, Working Papers, ...
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https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03460966
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 11:00:32 AM
Last modification on : Friday, November 25, 2022 - 6:52:05 PM

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Paolo Buonanno, Ruben Durante, Giovanni Prarolo. Rich Mines, Poor Institutions: Resource Curse and the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia. 2013. ⟨hal-03460966⟩

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