Mafia, Elections and Violence Against Politicians

IEB Working Paper N. 2016/29

58 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2017

See all articles by Gianmarco Daniele

Gianmarco Daniele

University of Milan - Faculty of Law; Bocconi University

Gemma Dipoppa

Stanford University

Date Written: December 7, 2016


Organized crime uses political violence to influence politics in a wide set of countries. This paper exploits a novel dataset of attacks directed towards Italian local politicians to study how (and why) criminal organizations use violence against them. We test two competing theories to predict the use of violence i) before elections, to affect the electoral outcome and ii) after elections, to influence politicians from the beginning of their term. We provide causal evidence in favor of the latter hypothesis. The probability of being a target of violence increases in the weeks right after an election in areas with a high presence of organized crime, especially when elections result in a change of local government.

Keywords: Organized crime, political violence, elections, rent seeking

JEL Classification: H00, D72

Suggested Citation

Daniele, Gianmarco and Dipoppa, Gemma, Mafia, Elections and Violence Against Politicians (December 7, 2016). IEB Working Paper N. 2016/29 , Available at SSRN: or

Gianmarco Daniele (Contact Author)

University of Milan - Faculty of Law ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
20122 Milano

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti 25
Milan, MI 20136

Gemma Dipoppa

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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