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Was privateering plunder efficient?

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  • Leeson, Peter T.
  • Nowrasteh, Alex

Abstract

This paper argues that when contracts between enemies are enforceable and transaction costs are low, plunderers and their victims benefit from trade that facilitates the former's ability to plunder the latter. Coasean "plunder contracts" transform part of plunder's social costs into private benefits for plunderers and their victims. A significant portion of the wealth that plunder would otherwise destroy is preserved instead. The result is more efficient plunder. To investigate our hypothesis we consider maritime marauding in the 18th and 19th centuries. Privateers developed a system of ransom and parole founded on Coasean plunder contracts with victim merchantmen.

Suggested Citation

  • Leeson, Peter T. & Nowrasteh, Alex, 2011. "Was privateering plunder efficient?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 303-317, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:79:y:2011:i:3:p:303-317
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    3. Anthony J. Evans & Vlad Tarko, 2014. "Contemporary Work in Austrian Economics," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 29(Fall 2014), pages 135-157.
    4. Edwards, Griffin & Robinson, Joshua J., 2019. "You gotta fight for your right? Publicly assigned but privately enforced property rights," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 31-39.
    5. Peter T. Leeson, 2014. ""God Damn": The Law and Economics of Monastic Malediction," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(1), pages 193-216.
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    7. Smith, Adam C. & Houser, Daniel & Leeson, Peter T. & Ostad, Ramin, 2014. "The costs of conflict," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 61-71.
    8. Leeson, Peter T. & Boettke, Peter J. & Lemke, Jayme S., 2014. "Wife Sales," Review of Behavioral Economics, now publishers, vol. 1(4), pages 349-379, December.

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