Organized Crime, Violence, and Politics

53 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2016

See all articles by Alberto F. Alesina

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Salvatore Piccolo

University of Bergamo, Compass Lexecon and CSEF

Paolo Pinotti

Bocconi University - BAFFI Center on International Markets, Money, and Regulation

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

We show that in Sicily Mafia killings of politicians increase before elections and have negative effects on the vote received by parties not captured by the Mafia. Then, using a very large data set of electoral speeches, we find strong evidence that anti-mafia activities by politicians elected in Sicily are, in fact, negatively correlated with the levels of pre-electoral violence. Using data on homicides in all regions of Italy starting from the end of the nineteenth century, we identify a political cycle of homicides only in regions with organized crime. We also show how this electoral cycle changes as a function of different electoral rules and the relative strength of captured and non-captured parties. All these empirical findings are rationalized by a simple signaling model in which criminal organizations exert pre-electoral violence to inform adverse politicians about their military strength.

Keywords: electoral violence, organized crime, political discourse, voting

JEL Classification: D72, K42

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Piccolo, Salvatore and Pinotti, Paolo, Organized Crime, Violence, and Politics (November 2016). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11641, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2873538

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-8388 (Phone)
617-495-7730 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Salvatore Piccolo

University of Bergamo, Compass Lexecon and CSEF ( email )

via de caniana 2
24127
Bergamo, BG 24127
Italy

Paolo Pinotti

Bocconi University - BAFFI Center on International Markets, Money, and Regulation ( email )

Milano, 20136
Italy

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