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I am trying to write a term paper on organized crime analyzing European countries. I would appreciate it if anyone would suggest good literature on violent crime, good governance (gov't integrity, the rule of law, political accountability), and personal freedom (freedom of speech and access to information). Any starting paper would be beneficial.

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I would suggest looking at some of the research by Francis Fukuyama.

  • "Social Capital, Civil Society, and Development," Third World Quarterly 22 (no. 1, 2001).

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He has more of a global focus, but he does go into Europe at length.

Some European countries evolved into very modern states with effective bureaucracies, which limited and prevented corruption and clientelism. Others (Italy, Greece), despite undergoing modernization, have governments that remain prone to corruption and clientelism. He argues that these countries have reached a sort of low-level equilibrium, where there is rarely an incentive not to take the bribe. Also key are the notions of "social capital" and "franchise expansion before state building" that bely the failings of many outwardly-looking healthy democracies. Leadership of the state is discredited (i.e. foreign-imposed) and society grows less trusting and fiscal income becomes harder to collect from the state's perspective.

This kind of framework may be relevant for your area of research into crime. Crime syndicates are essentially filling the void of trust from the incompetent states. In economic terms, low trust induces higher frictions/transaction costs of day-to-day life in such countries. In countries where states are not beholden to broader public interest, even democratic countries may experience their states leaning towards their favorite constituency or is captured outright. Against this backdrop, the crime syndicates' social capital will be too convenient to ignore.

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