Mafia in the Ballot Box
Posted on 14 November 2016
Giacomo De Luca’s paper “Mafia in the Ballot Box” has been accepted for publication in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.
We study the impact of organized crime on electoral results analyzing in detail the national parliamentary elections in Sicily for the period 1946-92. We document a significant support given by the Sicilian mafia to the Christian Democratic Party, the incumbent party in Italy during the period considered, when the electoral competition by the Communist party strengthened.
We also provide suggestive evidence that, in exchange for its electoral support, the mafia obtained economic advantages in the construction sector. Our findings suggest that elections in areas plagued by organized crime activities may be far from free and fair, and that politicians may not resist the temptation of banking the support of organized crime, particularly in contested elections.