Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Organized crime and women in politics: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in southern Italy

Baraldi, Anna Laura and Ronza, Carla (2019): Organized crime and women in politics: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in southern Italy.

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Abstract

This paper provides new and unexplored evidence of a negative link between an increasing female participation in politics and the infiltration of organized crime in government. We perform an empirical analysis of about 1,700 Southern Italian municipalities between 1985 and 2013 exploiting two Italian laws: law no. 164/1991, which allows measure of mafia infiltration in the Italian municipalities, and law no. 81/1993, which creates an exogenous source of variation in the share of women on the council that allows for correction of endogeneity bias. Increasing the female proportion on the city council of 10 percentage points reduces the probability of dissolution for mafia infiltration of about 1.8 p.p.; the result is confirmed when considering a female mayor. This negative effect remains across several robustness checks. This research adds a further reason in favour of the reduction of the gender gap in politics. In fact, policies aimed at legitimizing democracy, such as gender quotas in electoral law, also have the effect of strengthening institutions in the fight against organized crime, which is always a key government agenda.

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