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Mastro Buon i

Mastro Buon i

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Published by: MagikFungus on Sep 20, 2012
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Organized Crime Networks: Theory and EvidenceBased on Federal Bureau of Narcotics Secret Files onAmerican Mafia
preliminary version, please do not circulate 
Giovanni Mastrobuoni
June 2011
I would like to thank Theo Diasakos, Matthew Jackson, Claudio Lucifora, Franco Peracchi, JesseRothstein, Rocco Sciarrone, Serena Uccello, Aleksey Tetenov and seminar participants at the Economicsseminar at University of Arizona, the Labor and Development seminar at Princeton University, thePublic Policy seminar at Berkeley, and the workshop on the “Economics of Crime and Organized Crime”in Palermo, on “Institutions, Individual Behavior and Economic Outcomes” in Alghero, and on the onein Applied Economics in Petralia for their useful comments. Martino Bernardi, Isabella David, FilippoMaggi, and Dominic Smith have provided excellent research assistance. This research was supported bya Collegio Carlo Alberto grant. I would like to express my gratitude to the Italian Academy at ColumbiaUniversity for their hospitality.
Collegio Carlo Alberto and CeRP, Via Real Collegio 30, Moncalieri, Italy, gio-vanni.mastrobuoni@carloalberto.org.
©
2011 by Giovanni Mastrobuoni. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and notthose of the Collegio Carlo Alberto.
1
 
Abstract
Using a unique data set on criminal profiles of 800 US Mafia members activein the 1950s and 1960s, and on their connections within the
Cosa Nostra 
networkI analyze how the geometry of criminal ties between mobsters depends on familyrelationships, community roots and ties, legal and illegal activities. I interpretsome of the results in light of a model of connections, where more connectionsmean more profits but also a higher risk of defection. Adding law enforcementto the model allows me to reconstruct the sampling procedure, which I use tobuild a representative sample of mobsters. I find that variables that lower therisk of defection – kinship, violence, and mafia
culture 
among others – increase thenumber of connections. Moreover, there is evidence of strategic endogamy: femalechildren are as valuable as male children, and being married to a “connected” womanis a strong predictor of leadership within the mafia ranks. A very parsimoniousregression model explains one third of the variability in the criminal ranking of the “men of honor,” suggesting that these variables can be used to detect criminalleaders.One of the rather interesting findings of my simple model is that the distributionof connections is right-skewed, which is remarkably in line with the evidence thatmafia organizations tend to be extremely hierarchical.Keywords: Mafia, Networks, Intermarriage, Assortative Matching, Crime.JEL classification codes: A14, C21, D23, D85, K42, Z13
 
1 Introduction
In January 2011, exactly 50 years after Robert F. Kennedy’s first concentrated attack onthe American Mafia as the newly appointed attorney general of the United States, nearly125 people were arrested on federal charges, leading to what federal officials called the“largest mob roundup in F.B.I. history.”
1
This paper uses declassified data on 800 Mafiamembers that were active just before the 1961 crackdown to study the workings of theMafia, an organization that has been shown to be very hard to eradicate.For example, record number one (shown in Figure1) is Joe Bonanno. The files tell usthat he was born on January 18, 1905 in Castellamare (Sicily), was 5 foot 5 inches tall, andweighted 190 pounds. He became a US citizen in 1945, resided in Tucson (Arizona), andwas married to Filippina Labruzzo. He had one daughter and two sons. He had interestsin legal businesses: Grande Cheese Co., Fond du Lac (Wisconsin), Alliance Realty &Insurance (Tucson, Arizona), and Brunswick Laundry Service (Brooklyn, New York).Despite this veil of legal businesses Bonanno was one of the most important Mafia leadersin U.S. He attended all top-level Mafia meetings, including the 1957 Apalachin meetingand the 1956 Binghamton (New York) meeting. He made trips to Italy to confer withMafia leaders there and negotiate for international narcotic trafficking. He also had anextensive criminal history: a record dating from 1930 includes arrests for grand larceny,possession of gun, transportation of machine guns, and obstruction of justice. His closestcriminal associates were Lucky Luciano, Francisco Costiglia (Frank Costrello), GiuseppeProfaci, Anthony Corallo, Thomas Lucchese, and Carmine Galante.These records are based on an exact facsimile of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics(FBN) secret files on American Mafia members that were active and alive in 1960 (MAF,2007). I use these files to analyze criminal connections and hierarchies, ranking mobstersbased on the number and the quality of their connections.
2
I look for empirical evidence
1
See The New York Times, January 21, 2011, page A21 of the New York edition.
2
At the end of the 1950s the FBN, which later merged with the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control to form
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