In connection to this question are there any empirical estimates of the effect of organized crime on economy of Italy? I am looking for some net effect.


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There is an extensive literature about the relationships between organized crime and economic activity in Italy.

I’m not sure to understand what you precisely refer to when you say

I'm looking for some net effect

because the impact of organized crime can be analyzed in several respects, from a regional and territorial point of view, or by sector of economic activity, or for its impact on the distribution of income, or on investment, or from a microeconomic point of view, and so on.

But I suppose that you are referring first of all to a macroeconomic point of view, that is the impact of organized crime on the level of PIL and on economic growth.

It must be said that there aren’t conclusive statements about this impact, because of many difficulties linked also to the lack of reliable data.


The first source to look at when investigating an aspect of Italy's economy is, of course, the publications by the Banca d'Italia (the Italian Central Bank) and its research center, which is the most authoritative non-academic research center in Italy.$^1$

A recent paper by Banca d’Italia deals with the impact of organized crime on economy:

Mocetti S., Rizzica L., La criminalità organizzata in Italia: un'analisi economica (Organized Crime in Italy: an Economic Analysis), Questioni di economia e finanza, Banca d’Italia, 2021

The abstract:

Organized crime affects the social and economic development of the territories where it is rooted through several channels. Therefore, it is difficult to analyze these effects, also because of the impossibility to observe and measure for certain the presence of Mafia. […] this paper (i) analyzes the territorial diffusion of organized crime in Italy; (ii) describes the contexts that could have favored the origin and diffusion of mafias beyond traditional boundaries; (iii) examines the impact on economic growth and the different channels through which these effects occur .(my translation).

A recent study has been made by Cgia Mestre ((Italian Association of Artisans and Small Companies):

The picture that emerges from this study by Cgia di Mestre estimates at 40 billions of euros the volume of transactions of organized crime – that is 2% Italian PIL.


Below a recent book about the impact of criminality on economic activity:

Patalano R., Capitalismo criminale. Analisi economica del crimine organizzato, Giappicchelli, 2020$^2$


In the previous papers and book you can find a vast bibliography from both a theoretical and empirical point of view about the overall effects of organized crime on economic activity.


For more specific or sectorial impacts of organized crime, there are many aspects that have been analyzed:

An overview can be found in the introduction to a special number of the journal Moneta e Credito about economy and criminality in Italy (December 2018)

From the abstract :

The study of criminal behavior from the point of view of economics is mostly brought back to the canon of rationality. In this introduction to the special issue on crime and economy, we explain why it can be appropriate to move away from the extremely widespread vision that leads criminal actions to the microeconomic approach and, in particular, to the logic of business choices, to assume the point of view of those who choose to study crime as a governance structure. In particular, it is important to recognize that the activities of criminal organizations which have the main economic and political repercussions always take on an international dimension. This is an extremely important issue for economic policy in Europe.

Abot the impact on productivity:

Albanese G. e Marinelli G. (2013), “Organized Crime and Productivity: Evidence from Firm-Level Data”, Rivista italiana degli economisti, 18 (3), pp. 367-394.

About the impact on environment:

Pergolizzi A. (2018), “L’economia avvelenata del crimine ambientale”, Moneta e Credito, 71 (284), pp. 337-353. $^3$

The following is an article on lavoce.info, a well-known online economic journal, about the infiltration of the mafia in the sector of wind energy, after the Green Deal:

Sugli incentivi all’eolico il vento dell’infiltrazione mafiosa$^4$

About the impact on income distribution:

Clementi F. e Valentini E. (2018), “Economia irregolare, criminalità e diseguaglianza dei redditi: un circolo vizioso?”, Moneta e Credito, 71 (284), pp. 283-296.$^5$

About the impact on foreign investments:

Daniele V. e Marani U. (2011), Organized Crime, the Quality of Local Institutions and FDI in Italy: A Panel Data Analysis, European Journal of Political Economy, 27 (1), pp. 132-142.


This paper examines the impact of crime on foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in the Italian provinces. The incidence of organized crime is measured by the number of complaints regarding criminal offences of different kinds traditionally related to the mafia organizations. The results show how the correlation between organized crime and FDI is both negative and significant, even when an indicator of financial incentives for investment is included in the regressions. Our analysis shows that crime represents a deterrent for foreign investors, suggesting that high levels of (certain) crimes may be perceived as a signal of a local socio-institutional environment unfavorable for FDI.


Other information and data can be found in this recent article on Sole24ore, the most important Italian economic newspaper, which is a reliable source to be consulted when inquiring about Italian economy.

$^1$ Forgive me if I say some obvious things, but I write also for possible readers who don't know Italy's institutions and Italian economy.

$^2$ Criminal Capitalism: an Economic Analysis of Organized Crime.

$^3$ The Poisoned Economy of Environmental Crime.

$^4$ The wind of Mafia Infiltration over the Incentives for Wind Power.

$^5$ Illegal Economy, criminality and income inequality: a Vicious Circle?


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