CFDP 2097R

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


Publication Date: August 2017

Revision Date: December 2017

Pages: 45


We study how cultural distance affects the rejection of imposed institutions. To do so, we exploit the transplantation of Piedmontese institutions on Southern Italy that occurred during the Italian unification. We assemble a novel and unique dataset containing municipal-level information on episodes of brigandage, a form of violent uprising against the unitary government. We use the geographic distance from local settlements of Piedmontese descent as a proxy for the 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.

Supplemental material

Supplement pages: 17


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

JEL Classification Codes: N43, D74, P16, Z10

JEL Classification Codes: N43D74P16Z10