Strategic Positioning in Mafia Networks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper analyzes two criminal networks belonging to the ‗Ndrangheta, a mafia-type criminal organization originating from Calabria, a Southern Italian Region. The literature on criminal networks argues that differences in the degree and betweenness centrality measures may highlight strategic positioning patterns for criminals capable of reducing risk of detection and maintaining control over the criminal activities at the same time. However, the identification of this strategic pattern is difficult whenever, as frequently happens, centrality measures are highly correlated The paper analyzes network positioning in two mafia-type organizations, where degree and betweenness centrality were highly correlated. The analysis focuses on specific characteristics of the individuals in the networks (task, hierarchy and social status within each group) and how these relate to network positioning (centrality scores and clustering coefficient) and the outcome of the criminal proceedings (accusation, arrest, conviction and sentence in months). Results show that task and hierarchy are highly associated with network centrality, but also with accusation, arrest and conviction. Contrarily, high social status within the networks shows limited association with network centrality and the outcome of criminal proceedings. This may reveal patterns of strategic positioning which could not be identified solely though network analysis measures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThird Annual Illicit Networks Workshop
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventThird Annual Illicit Networks Workshop - Montreal
Duration: 3 Oct 20104 Oct 2010


WorkshopThird Annual Illicit Networks Workshop


  • mafia
  • network analysis


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