Exposing Politicians’ Ties to Criminal Organizations: The Effects of Local Government Dissolutions on Electoral Outcomes in Southern Italian Municipalities

IEB Working Paper N. 2015/41

44 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2015

See all articles by Gianmarco Daniele

Gianmarco Daniele

University of Milan - Faculty of Law; Bocconi University

Benny Geys

BI Norwegian Business School; Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Applied Economics Department

Date Written: December 21, 2015

Abstract

Since 1991, the Italian national government can dissolve municipal councils when infiltration by organized crime is suspected (Law 164/1991). We exploit variation over time and space in the application of this law to study voters’ responses to politicians’ publicly exposed ties to criminal organizations. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we find that public exposure of ties to organized crime significantly depresses turnout in local elections, and negatively impacts the electoral performance of incumbents and purely local political parties. The breach in the local political principal-agent relationship also translates into citizens’ reduced willingness to contribute to the financing of local public goods.

Keywords: Political accountability, voter turnout, elections, mafia, tax compliance

JEL Classification: K42, H89, O17

Suggested Citation

Daniele, Gianmarco and Geys, Benny, Exposing Politicians’ Ties to Criminal Organizations: The Effects of Local Government Dissolutions on Electoral Outcomes in Southern Italian Municipalities (December 21, 2015). IEB Working Paper N. 2015/41, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706587 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2706587

Gianmarco Daniele (Contact Author)

University of Milan - Faculty of Law ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
20122 Milano
Italy

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Benny Geys

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
Norway

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Applied Economics Department ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
1040 Etterbeek
Brussel, CA 1040
Belgium

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