Prosecution Associations in Industrial Revolution England: Private Providers of Public Goods?
In 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.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Benson, Bruce L, 1994. "Are Public Goods Really Common Pools? Considerations of the Evolution of Policing and Highways in England," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(2), pages 249-71, April.
- Peter Leeson, 2007. "Efficient anarchy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 41-53, January.
- Allen, Robert C., 2009. "Engels' pause: Technical change, capital accumulation, and inequality in the british industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 418-435, October.
- Ekelund, Robert B. & Dorton, Cheryl, 2003. "Criminal justice institutions as a common pool: the 19th century analysis of Edwin Chadwick," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 271-294, March.
- Klein, Daniel B., 1990.
"The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America,"
University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers
qt2587p3z1, University of California Transportation Center.
- Klein, Daniel B, 1990. "The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(4), pages 788-812, October.
- Klein, D., 1989. "The Voluntary Provision Of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies Of Early America," Papers 89-08, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- Klein, Daniel, 1990. "The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt0js4r8h9, University of California Transportation Center.
- Douglas W. Allen & Yoram Barzel, 2011. "The Evolution of Criminal Law and Police during the Pre-modern Era," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 540-567.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:doi:10.1086/664011. 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: (Journals Division)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.