Resistance to Institutions and Cultural Distance: Brigandage in Post-Unification Italy

55 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2017

See all articles by Giampaolo Lecce

Giampaolo Lecce

Northwestern University

Laura Ogliari

Bocconi University

Tommaso Orlando

Bank of Italy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2, 2017


We study how cultural distance affects the rejection of imposed institutions. To this purpose, we exploit the transplantation of Piedmontese institutions on Southern Italy which occurred during the Italian unification. We assemble a novel and unique dataset containing information on episodes of brigandage, a form of violent uprising against the unitary government, at the municipal level. We use geographic distance from local settlements of Piedmontese descent as a proxy for cultural distance between each municipality and the new rulers. We find robust evidence that cultural distance from the origins of the transplanted institutions is significantly associated with more intense resistance to these institutions. Our results further suggest that the rejection of the transplanted institutions may have a long lasting effect on political participation.

Keywords: Institutions, Institutional Transplantations, Culture, Social Unrest, Electoral Turnout

JEL Classification: N43, D74, P16, Z10

Suggested Citation

Lecce, Giampaolo and Ogliari, Laura and Orlando, Tommaso, Resistance to Institutions and Cultural Distance: Brigandage in Post-Unification Italy (August 2, 2017). Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 2097. Available at SSRN: or

Giampaolo Lecce (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Laura Ogliari

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, 20136

Tommaso Orlando

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

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