2015/37: Strike one to educate one hundred: organized crime, political selection and politicians’ ability
A central question in terms of political (self-)selection relates to the incentives leading high ability individuals to enter – or abstain from entering – into politics. In this article, we use data from Italian municipalities over the period 1985- 2012 to empirically assess how changes in individuals’ expected payoffs affect political (self-)selection. Identification derives from murders of local politicians by the mafia, and indicates that such a negative shock to politicians’ expected payoffs induces a strong decrease in first-time elected politicians’ human capital. The effect is not limited to the municipality where a political murder takes place, but also extends to nearby municipalities.