• English
  • Italiano
Buonanno, P., Durante, R., Prarolo, G., Vanin, P. (2012). Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse and the Origins of the Sicilian Ma fia. Working Paper DSE N° 844.

This study explains the emergence of the Sicilian ma a in the XIX century as the product of the interaction between natural resource abundance and weak institutions. We advance the hypothesis that the ma a emerged after the collapse of the Bourbon Kingdom in a context characterized by a severe lack of state property-right enforcement in response to the rising demand for the protection of sulfur - Sicily's most valuable export commodity - whose demand in the in- ternational markets was soaring at the time. We test this hypothesis combining data on the early presence of the ma a and on the distribution of sulfur reserves across Sicilian municipalities and nd evidence of a positive and signi cant effect of sulphur availability on ma a's di usion. These results remain unchanged when including department xed-e ects and various geographical and historical controls, when controlling for spatial correlation, and when comparing pairs of neighboring municipalities with and without sulfur.


Buonanno, Paolo

I am assistant professor in the Department of Economics "Hyman P. Minsky" at the University of Bergamo. I obtained my PhD in Economics at the University of Milan-Bicocca in 2003 with a thesis on education and crime. I also studied at the University of California at Berkeley where I was a...

Durante, Ruben

Ruben Durante is Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics of Sciences Po University in Paris.

Prarolo, Giovanni

Giovanni Prarolo is Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics of the University of Bologna.

Vanin, Paolo

Journal articles Crime and Social Sanction (with P. Buonanno and G. Pasini), Papers in Regional Science, in press Trade Protection and Industrial Structure (with F. Albornoz), The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 10(1) (Topics), 2010, Article 57 Does Social Capital...

Attached content

Upcoming events

No events in the list.