VoxEU Column

Rebelling against a new state: Evidence from the Italian unification

Successful state formation processes are a crucial element for the development of well-functioning institutions. However, there are many instances of state building encountering resistance by local communities. This column uses Italian unification as a historical case study to investigate how cultural proximity to the new ruler may promote successful state building. The authors find that communities culturally closer to the new ruler have a lower propensity to rebel, and discuss two possible cultural mechanisms: social identification with the new ruler, and ‘goodness of fit’ of the new institutions with local values.