This chapter analyses how mafias infiltrate the legal economy, influencing the economic organisation of local society by discouraging investments in production, standing in the way of full enjoyment of property rights and thereby profoundly affecting economic opportunities and the allocation of resources. It examines how mafia groups influence political and institutional life while seeking social consensus, demonstrating their adaptability to social change. The author highlights the dual economic and political nature of the mafia which pursues both profit and power by building cooperation with institutional, political, economic and civil society actors, drawing them into collusion and complicity, and then turning those relationships to its economic advantage. The study then focuses on the importance of social capital as a key resource for the success - economic and otherwise - of mafia groups, and the role of the ‘grey area’ of collusion within which that capital is built and mobilised.
Felia Allum, Isabella Clough Marinaro and Rocco Sciarrone
The introduction explains the rationale, aims and scope of the book. It provides a brief overview of the existing literature on Italian mafias, explains how it differentiates itself from past works, and offers a chapter-by-chapter outline of the volume.