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

Quaderni Working Paper No. 844

43 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2012

See all articles by Paolo Buonanno

Paolo Buonanno

University of Bergamo

Ruben Durante

Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA); Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Department of Economics and Business, Students

Giovanni Prarolo

University of Bologna; University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA)

Paolo Vanin

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 6, 2012

Abstract

This study explains the emergence of the Sicilian mafia in the XIX century as the product of the interaction between natural resource abundance and weak institutions. We advance the hypothesis that the ma fia emerged after the collapse of the Bourbon Kingdom in a context characterized by a severe lack of state property-right enforcement in response to the rising demand for the protection of sulfur - Sicily's most valuable export commodity - whose demand in the international markets was soaring at the time. We test this hypothesis combining data on the early presence of the mafia and on the distribution of sulfur reserves across Sicilian municipalities and find evidence of a positive and signi ficant effect of sulphur availability on mafi a's di ffusion. These results remain unchanged when including department fixed-e ffects and various geographical and historical controls, when controlling for spatial correlation, and when comparing pairs of neighboring municipalities with and without sulfur.

Keywords: natural resource curse, weak institutions, ma fia-type organizations

JEL Classification: K42, N33, N54, O13, O43

Suggested Citation

Buonanno, Paolo and Durante, Ruben and Prarolo, Giovanni and Vanin, Paolo, Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse and the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia (September 6, 2012). Quaderni Working Paper No. 844, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2142372 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2142372

Ruben Durante

Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) ( email )

P/ Lluis Companys 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Department of Economics and Business, Students ( email )

Barcelona
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://www.rubendurante.net

Giovanni Prarolo

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www2.dse.unibo.it/prarolo/

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA) ( email )

Via P. Amedeo 34
Milano, Mi 20122
Italy

Paolo Vanin

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, BO 40126
Italy
+39-0512098120 (Phone)
+39-0512098040 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/paolovanin/

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
253
Abstract Views
1,231
rank
131,647
PlumX Metrics