IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/iepoli/v23y2011i2p182-188.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The real puzzle of blackmail: An informational approach

Author

Listed:
  • Miceli, Thomas J.

Abstract

The "puzzle" of blackmail is that threats to reveal private information that would be harmful to someone in exchange for money are illegal, but revelation is not. The resolution is that concealment of information about product quality impedes the efficient operation of markets, whereas revelation promotes it. The real puzzle is why possessors are not naturally inclined to sell to uninformed parties, who value the information more than would-be blackmail victims. The answer has to do with the public good qualities of information, which create an appropriability problem in transactions with uninformed parties. The paper also discusses incentives to acquire compromising information.

Suggested Citation

  • Miceli, Thomas J., 2011. "The real puzzle of blackmail: An informational approach," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 182-188, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:23:y:2011:i:2:p:182-188
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167624511000187
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Johannes Hörner & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2016. "Selling Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(6), pages 1515-1562.
    2. Leland, Hayne E, 1979. "Quacks, Lemons, and Licensing: A Theory of Minimum Quality Standards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1328-1346, December.
    3. Helmholz, R H, 2001. "The Roman Law of Blackmail," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 33-52, January.
    4. Gomez, Fernando & Ganuza, Juan-Jose, 2002. "Civil and criminal sanctions against blackmail: an economic analysis," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 475-498, May.
    5. Cheung, Steven N S, 1982. "Property Rights in Trade Secrets," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(1), pages 40-53, January.
    6. Steven Shavell, 1994. "Acquisition and Disclosure of Information Prior to Sale," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 20-36, Spring.
    7. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1971. "The Private and Social Value of Information and the Reward to Inventive Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(4), pages 561-574, September.
    8. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    9. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asymmetric information Blackmail Adverse selection;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:23:y:2011:i:2:p:182-188. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.