This paper aims to evaluate the impact of a policy that targets criminal infiltration in local governments on the provision of local public goods in Italian municipalities. Building on the theoretical framework proposed by Dal Bò (American Political Science Review 100:41–53, 2006), we use a sufficient statistic approach to describe the dynamic behaviour of local public goods when stricter law enforcement weakens criminal pressure groups. Utilizing data on the local public finances of Italian municipalities spanning from 2004 to 2015, our findings reveal that, after the dismissal of infiltrated governments, the targeted municipalities devote a larger share of resources to public goods, with an estimated increase of approximately 3.9 percentage points. Notably, this effect seems to be driven by an increase in investment of approximately 3 percentage points. Overall, our results suggest that policies targeting the problem of criminal infiltration in local governments can improve socioeconomic conditions and the well-being of local communities, by increasing investments in economically and socially relevant public goods.
Fontana, S., D'Agostino, G. (2024). Anti-mafia policies and public goods in Italy. PUBLIC CHOICE, 1-37 [10.1007/s11127-023-01139-9].