Gulags, crime, and elite violence : origins and consequences of the Russian mafia

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dc.contributor Bank of Finland Lonsky, Jakub 2020-11-03T08:47:14Z 2020-11-03T08:47:14Z 2020
dc.identifier.isbn 978-952-323-354-6
dc.identifier.issn 1456-5889
dc.description.abstract This paper studies the origins and consequences of the Russian mafia (vory-v-zakone). I web scraped a unique dataset that contains detailed biographies of more than 5,000 mafia leaders operating in 15 countries of the (former) Soviet Union at some point between 1916 and 2017. Using this data, I first show that the Russian mafia originated in the Gulag – the Soviet system of forced labor camps which housed around 18 million prisoners in the 1920s - 1950s period. Second, I document that the distance to the nearest camp is a strong negative predictor of mafia presence in Russia’s communities in the early post-Soviet period. Finally, using an instrumental variable approach which exploits the spatial distribution of the gulags, I examine the effects of mafia presence on local crime and elite violence in mid-1990s Russia. In particular, I show that the communities with mafia presence experienced a dramatic rise in crime driven by turf wars which erupted among rival clans around 1993 and persisted for much of the 1990. Further heterogeneity analysis reveals that mafia presence led to a spike in attacks against businessmen, fellow criminals, as well as law enforcement officers and judges, while politically-motivated violence remained unaffected.
dc.format.extent 60
dc.language.iso ENG
dc.subject Bofit-kokoelma
dc.subject Venäjä
dc.subject Neuvostoliitto
dc.subject Gulag
dc.subject.other Russian mafia
dc.subject.other post-socialist transition
dc.subject.other crime
dc.subject.other elite violence
dc.title Gulags, crime, and elite violence : origins and consequences of the Russian mafia
dc.type Paper
dc.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:bof-202011032479
dc.subject.jel K42
dc.subject.jel N40
dc.subject.jel P16
dc.subject.jel P37 BOFIT Discussion Papers
dc.series.year 2020
dc.series.number 24/2020
dc.series.sortingnumber 0024 3.11.2020
dc.subject.yso järjestäytynyt rikollisuus
dc.subject.yso rikollisuus
dc.subject.yso liikemiehet
dc.subject.yso väkivalta
dc.subject.yso mafia
dc.subject.yso historia
dc.subject.yso alueet
dc.contributor.orgunit Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT)
dc.type.okm D4

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