Many policy makers and some academics believe that mafias strategically plan to conquer new territories, move easily between countries and quickly become deeply rooted in new places with little difficulty. The reality is more complicated. I show that mafiosi often move away from their home territories because they are forced to do so rather than because they relocate for strategic reasons; and that the presence of mafiosi abroad is not sufficient to predict transplantation. Whether transplantation succeeds depends on the presence of mafiosi and local factors, such as whether local markets, like construction, are booming and poorly regulated. Under some conditions, transplantation results in wholesale separation between the original organization and the outpost. Occasionally mafiosi abroad neither plan nor hope to achieve the kinds of control of territories, industries, and markets they exercise at home, but to buy or sell illegal commodities, thereby engaging in a process of functional diversification.
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