CFDP 2097

Resistance to Institutions and Cultural Distance: Brigandage in Post-Unification Italy


Publication Date: August 2017

Pages: 54


We study how cultural distance affects the rejection of imposed institutions. To this purpose, we exploit the transplantation of Piedmontese institutions on Southern Italy which occurred during the Italian unification. We assemble a novel and unique dataset containing information on episodes of brigandage, a form of violent uprising against the unitary government, at the municipal level. We use geographic distance from local settlements of Piedmontese descent as a proxy for cultural distance between each municipality and the new rulers. We find robust evidence that cultural distance from the origins of the transplanted institutions is significantly associated with more intense resistance to these institutions. Our results further suggest that the rejection of the transplanted institutions may have a long lasting effect on political participation.


Institutions, Institutional Transplantations, Culture, Social Unrest, Electoral Turnout

JEL Classification Codes: N43, D74, P16, Z10

JEL Classification Codes: N43D74P16Z10