Law Enforcement and Political Participation: Italy, 1861-65

64 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2017

Date Written: July 19, 2017

Abstract

Does tougher law enforcement positively affect political participation? This paper addresses this question, which hinges upon the causal impact of formal institutions on informal ones, by using a historical event from 19th century Italy. This event was the Pica Law, which was introduced in 1863 to fight a surge of criminal violence in Southern Italy and to ensure a safer environment for wealthy people, the only ones allowed to vote at that time. Our main finding, obtained using a spatial regression discontinuity technique in a diff-in-diffs framework, is that voter turnout greatly increased in those areas where the Pica Law was applied, compared with bordering and otherwise similar areas. This result is confirmed by a number of robustness checks and placebo exercises and turns out to be persistent over time.

Keywords: Turnout, Electoral Results, Spatial Discontinuity

JEL Classification: D72, R5

Suggested Citation

Accetturo, Antonio and Bugamelli, Matteo and Lamorgese, Andrea Roberto, Law Enforcement and Political Participation: Italy, 1861-65 (July 19, 2017). Bank of Italy Temi di Discussione (Working Paper) No. 1124, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3040639 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3040639

Antonio Accetturo

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Matteo Bugamelli

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Andrea Roberto Lamorgese (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
00184 Roma
Italy
+39 06 4792 3441 (Phone)
+39 06 4792 2601 (Fax)

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