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Putting the "Con" into Constitutions: The Economics of Prison Gangs

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  • David Skarbek

Abstract

This paper investigates the internal governance institutions of criminal enterprise by examining the law, economics, and organization of the La Nuestra Familia prison gang. To organize effectively within the confines of penitentiaries, the gang needs to provide a credible commitment for member safety to potential entrants and a means of preventing predation and misconduct within the gang. I analyze the governance structure outlined in the gang's written constitution and show how it solves the collective action problems associated with multilevel criminal enterprises. (JEL D23, K42, L23, P16) The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewn021
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Volume (Year): 26 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 183-211

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:26:y::i:2:p:183-211

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Cited by:
  1. Richard Alan Seals Jr., 2011. "Cognitive Ability and the Division of Labor in Urban Ghettos: Evidence From Gang Activity in U.S. Data," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2011-03, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  2. T. Randolph Beard & Richard Alan Seals Jr. & Michael L. Stern, 2014. "Security and Government Credibility," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2014-07, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  3. Skarbek, David, 2012. "Prison gangs, norms, and organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 96-109.
  4. Daniel D’Amico, 2010. "The prison in economics: private and public incarceration in Ancient Greece," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 461-482, December.
  5. Koyama, Mark, 2012. "The Law and Economics of Private Prosecutions in Industrial Revolution England," MPRA Paper 40500, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto, 2010. "Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behaviour: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Peter Leeson, 2013. "Gypsy law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 273-292, June.
  8. Edward Stringham & Todd Zywicki, 2011. "Rivalry and superior dispatch: an analysis of competing courts in medieval and early modern England," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 497-524, June.
  9. Alexander Fink, 2011. "Under what conditions may social contracts arise? Evidence from the Hanseatic League," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 173-190, June.

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