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

68 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021

See all articles by Giampaolo Lecce

Giampaolo Lecce

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business

Laura Ogliari

Bocconi University

Tommaso Orlando

Bank of Italy

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2021

Abstract

What determines the rejection of exogenously imposed institutions? To address this question, we exploit the transplantation of institutions that occurred when southern Italy was annexed to Piedmont, during the Italian unification process of the 1860s. We assemble a novel dataset on episodes of brigandage, a form of violent uprising against the unitary government, and on pre-unification social and economic characteristics of southern Italian municipalities. We find that the intensity of institutional rejection is ceteris paribus lower in and close to settlements of Piedmontese origin. We argue that geographical distance from these communities is a proxy for cultural distance from the Piedmontese rulers. Thus, our results suggest that cultural proximity to the ‘donor’ reduces institutional rejection by ‘recipient’ communities in the context of institutional transplantations. We rule out alternative mechanisms proposed by the economic literature, provide suggestive evidence of cultural persistence and diffusion in our context, and discuss two possible culture-based interpretations of our results: a clash between local values and the content of the new institutions, and social identification with the Piedmontese rulers.

Keywords: Institutions, Culture, Institutional Transplantations, Cultural Diffusion

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 (April 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3826144 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3826144

Giampaolo Lecce

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business ( email )

Postbus 72
9700 AB Groningen
Netherlands

Laura Ogliari (Contact Author)

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, 20136
Italy

Tommaso Orlando

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

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