Giuseppe De Feo
Strathclyde Business School
199 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G4 0QU, UK
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2017||Weak States: Causes and Consequences of the Sicilian Mafia|
with Daron Acemoglu, Giacomo De Luca: w24115
We document that the spread of the Mafia in Sicily at the end of the 19th century was in part shaped by the rise of socialist Peasant Fasci organizations. In an environment with weak state presence, this socialist threat triggered landholders, estate managers and local politicians to turn to the Mafia to resist and combat peasant demands. We show that the location of the Peasant Fasci is significantly affected by an exceptionally severe drought in 1893, and using information on rainfall, we establish the causal effect of the Peasant Fasci on the location of the Mafia in 1900. We provide extensive evidence that rainfall before and after this critical period has no effect on the spread of the Mafia or various economic and political outcomes. In the second part of the paper, we use the source...