2016/01: Law enforcement, municipal budgets and spillover effects: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in Italy
In this paper, I empirically investigate the presence of spillover effects resulting from the strengthening of law enforcement against corruption and organized crime in local governments. Specifically, I take advantage of an Italian law that gives power to the central government to replace democratically elected municipal officials who are potentially connected with mafia with a commission of non-elected administrators. Fixed effects model estimates that focus on a sample of municipalities from three Italian regions (Campania, Calabria and Sicilia) for the period 1998 to 2013 show that the city council dismissal of a municipality fosters a reduction in public investments in neighboring municipalities. Additional empirical evidence suggests that this result could be explained by the presence of law enforcement spillovers potentially reducing misconducts in neighboring municipalities.