NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Giuseppe De Feo

Strathclyde Business School
199 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G4 0QU, UK

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2017Weak 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...
 
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