Journal article Open Access
Buonanno, Paolo; Prarolo, Giovanni; Vanin, Paolo
This paper investigates the relationship between Sicilian mafia and politics by focusing on municipality-level results of national political elections. It exploits the fact that in the early 1990s the Italian party system collapsed, new parties emerged and mafia families had to look for new political allies. It presents evidence, based on disaggregated data from the Italian region of Sicily, that between 1994 and 2013 Silvio Berlusconi's party, Forza Italia, obtained higher vote shares at national elections in municipalities plagued by mafia. The result is robust to the use of different measures of mafia presence, both contemporary and historical, to the inclusion of different sets of controls and to spatial analysis. Instrumenting mafia's presence by determinants of its early diffusion in the late XIX century suggests that the correlation reflects a causal link.