Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Date


CFDP Number


CFDP Revision Date

December 1, 2017

CFDP Pages


Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) Code(s)

N43, D74, P16, Z10


We study how cultural distance affects the rejection of imposed institutions. To do so, we exploit the transplantation of Piedmontese institutions on Southern Italy that occurred during the Italian unification. We assemble a novel and unique dataset containing municipal-level information on episodes of brigandage, a form of violent uprising against the unitary government. We use the geographic distance from local settlements of Piedmontese descent as a proxy for the cultural distance between each municipality and the new rulers. We find robust evidence that cultural distance from the origins of the transplanted institutions is significantly associated with more intense resistance to these institutions. Our results further suggest that the rejection of the transplanted institutions may have a long-lasting effect on political participation.


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