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Rational Bandits: Plunder, Public Goods, and the Vikings

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  • Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter
  • Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard

Abstract

The paper applies and extends insights from Mancur Olson's study of state making to the Vikings. In a world of roving bandits, a sub-optimal provision of public goods exists, most notably of security. Roving banditry leads to over-plundering and zero profits for the plunderers, which makes stationary banditry profitable. The most efficient bandits monopolize violence, begin to tax and provide some amounts of public goods in order to stimulate economic growth. The analysis demonstrates how the Vikings' activities and settlements are consistent with such an explanation, with the dynamics of the process being reflected in the variation in the number of raids and the amount of wealth extracted. Copyright 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter & Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard, 2003. "Rational Bandits: Plunder, Public Goods, and the Vikings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 117(3-4), pages 255-272, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:117:y:2003:i:3-4:p:255-72
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. New paper on the political economy of monarchy
      by Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard in Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard on 2014-04-23 19:00:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Justesen, Mogens K. & Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter, 2007. "The constitution of economic growth: Testing the prosperity effects of a Madisonian model on a panel of countries 1980‐2000," MPRA Paper 36063, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Pedro Naso & Erwin Bulte & Tim Swanson, 2017. "Can there be benefits from competing legal regimes? The impact of legal pluralism in post-conflict Sierra Leone," CIES Research Paper series 56-2017, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.
    3. Svendsen, Gunnar Lind Haase & Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard, 2016. "How did trade norms evolve in Scandinavia? Long-distance trade and social trust in the Viking age," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 198-205.
    4. Andrew Young, 2015. "From Caesar to Tacitus: changes in early Germanic governance circa 50 BC-50 AD," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 357-378, September.
    5. Benjamin Powell & Edward Stringham, 2009. "Public choice and the economic analysis of anarchy: a survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 503-538, September.
    6. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2016. "A positive theory of the predatory state," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 153-175, September.
    7. Urs Steiner Brandt & Gert Tinggaard Svendsen, 2003. "Bureaucratic Rent-Seeking in the European Union," Working Papers 46/03, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
    8. Andrew T. Young, 2016. "What does it take for a roving bandit settle down? Theory and an illustrative history of the Visigoths," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(1), pages 75-102, July.
    9. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2011. "Appropriation, violent enforcement, and transaction costs: a critical survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 227-253, April.
    10. Poulsen, Odile & Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard, 2005. "Love Thy Neighbor: Bonding versus Bridging Trust," Working Papers 05-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    11. Edgardo Barandiarán, 2003. "Protecting Property from Stationary Bandits," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 40(121), pages 626-632.
    12. Andrew T. Young, 2015. "Visigothic Retinues: Roving Bandits that Succeeded Rome," Working Papers 15-09, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    13. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, 2012. "Modeling constitutional choice: reflections on The Calculus of Consent 50 years on," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 152(3), pages 407-413, September.

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