Organized Crime, Violence, and Politics
45 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016 Last revised: 15 May 2022
Date Written: March 2016
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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