Prosecution Associations in Industrial Revolution England: Private Providers of Public Goods?
AbstractIn early nineteenth-century England, there was no professional police force and most prosecutions were private. This paper examines how associations for the prosecution of felons arose to internalize the positive externalities produced by private prosecutions. Drawing upon new historical evidence, it examines how the internal governance and incentive structures of prosecution associations enabled them to provide public goods. Consistent with the reasoning of Demsetz (1970), I find that prosecution associations were economic clubs that bundled the private good of insurance with the public good of deterrence. Associations used local newspapers to advertise rewards and attract new members. Price discrimination was employed in order to elicit contributions from individuals with different security demands. Selective incentives helped to overcome free-rider problems between members.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.
Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 95 - 130
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/
Other versions of this item:
- M Koyama, 2011. "Prosecution Associations in Industrial Revolution England: Private Providers of Public Goods?," Centre for Historical Economics and Related Research at York (CHERRY) Discussion Papers 11/01, CHERRY, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
- N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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