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

28 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2015

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: August 2015

Abstract

With weak law‐enforcement institutions, a positive shock to the value of natural resources may increase demand for private protection and opportunities for rent appropriation through extortion, favouring the emergence of mafia‐type organisations. We test this hypothesis by investigating the emergence of the mafia in twentieth century Sicily, where a severe lack of state property‐rights enforcement coincided with a steep rise in international demand for sulphur, Sicily's most valuable export commodity. Using historical data on the early incidence of mafia activity and on the distribution of sulphur reserves, we document that the mafia was more present in municipalities with greater sulphur availability.

Suggested Citation

Buonanno, Paolo and Durante, Ruben and Prarolo, Giovanni and Vanin, Paolo, Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse in the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia (August 2015). Feature Issue, Vol. 125, Issue 586, pp. F175-F202, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2647122 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12236

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/

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