Simulating protection rackets: a case study of the Sicilian Mafia

Luis G. Nardin, Giulia Andrighetto, Rosaria Conte, Áron Székely, David Anzola, Corinna Elsenbroich, Ulf Lotzmann, Martin Neumann, Valentina Punzo, Klaus G. Troitzsch

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Protection racketeering groups are powerful, deeply entrenched in multiple societies across the globe, and they harm the societies and economies in which they operate in multiple ways. These reasons make their dynamics important to understand and an objective of both scientific and application-oriented interest. Legal and social norm-based approaches arguably play significant roles in influencing protection racket dynamics. We propose an agent-based simulation model, the Palermo Scenario, to enrich our understanding of these influences and to test the effect of different policies on protection racket dynamics. Our model integrates the legal and the social norm-based approaches and uses a complex normative agent architecture that enables the analysis of both agents’ behaviours and mental normative representations driving behaviour. We demonstrate the usefulness of the model and the benefits of using this complex normative architecture through a case study of the Sicilian Mafia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1147
Number of pages31
JournalAutonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence

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