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The political economy of organized crime: providing protection when the state does not


  • Stergios Skaperdas


Organized crime emerges out of the power vaccuum that is created by the absence of state enforcement, and which can have many sources: geographic, social, and ethnic distance, prohibition, or simply collapse of state institutions. Mafias and gangs are hierarchically organized and can be thought of as providing primitive state functions, with economic costs that are typically much higher than those associated with modern governance. Though organized crime cannot be completely eradicated, its control is necessary, since it can easily corrupt existing institutions of governance. Some thoughts on what can be done to control organized crime are offered. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Suggested Citation

  • Stergios Skaperdas, 2001. "The political economy of organized crime: providing protection when the state does not," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 173-202, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:2:y:2001:i:3:p:173-202

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    2. Paola Profeta, 2002. "Retirement and Social Security in a Probabilistic Voting Model," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 331-348, August.
    3. Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Electoral outcomes with probabilistic voting and Nash social welfare maxima," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 113-121, February.
    4. Conde-Ruiz, J. Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2004. "The macroeconomics of early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1849-1869, August.
    5. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, 2003. "Early Retirement," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(1), pages 12-36, January.
    6. Michele Boldrin & Juan J. Dolado & Juan F. Jimeno & Franco Peracchi, 1999. "The future of pensions in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(29), pages 287-320, October.
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    More about this item


    Key words: anarchy; conflict; JEL classification: H1; K0; L8;

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • L8 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services


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