Godfather Politicians and Organized Violence: The Good, the Bad, and the Bloody

62 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2023 Last revised: 8 Jan 2024

See all articles by Shuo Chen

Shuo Chen

Fudan University - Department of Economics

Xinyu Fan

Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business

Xuanyi Wang

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Yuzheng Wang

Central University of Finance and Economics

Date Written: July 26, 2023

Abstract

Virtuous politicians are considered as ideal public servants. Ironically, social order does not necessarily improve when good politicians replace flawed ones. A corrupt politician (“Godfather”) may arbitrate otherwise violent conflicts for extralegal personal benefits, while maintaining local peace. Eradicating such politicians, therefore, leads to social unrest. Utilizing a unique natural experiment – China’s anti-corruption campaign since 2013, we use a difference-in-differences test to show that organized violence surged by an additional 14% in cases where officials were found colluding with organized criminals. We further show that the organized violence surge was not due to reporting bias, government failures, or gangster infightings.

Keywords: Organized Crime, Violence, Corruption, Politician, Godfather

JEL Classification: D73, D74, P16, P48

Suggested Citation

Chen, Shuo and Fan, Xinyu and Wang, Xuanyi and Wang, Yuzheng, Godfather Politicians and Organized Violence: The Good, the Bad, and the Bloody (July 26, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4521305 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4521305

Shuo Chen

Fudan University - Department of Economics ( email )

600 GuoQuan Road
Yangpu District
Shanghai, 200433
China

Xinyu Fan (Contact Author)

Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business

E3, Oriental Plaza
1 East Chang An Ave
Beijing, Beijing 100006
China

Xuanyi Wang

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Yuzheng Wang

Central University of Finance and Economics ( email )

770 Middle Road
Dresden, ME 04342
United States

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