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How Costly is Modern Maritime Piracy for the International Community?




This paper focuses on the impact of maritime piracy on international trade. Piracy increases the cost of international maritime transport through an increase in insecurity regarding goods deliveries. Bilateral trade flows between the main European and Asian countries over the 1999 to 2008 period are used to estimate an augmented gravity model that includes various measures of piracy acts. We found robust evidence indicating that maritime piracy reduces the volume of trade; the effect of ten additional vessels hijacked being associated to an 11% decrease in exports. Using these results, the international cost of piracy in terms of trade destruction is estimated to be 28 billion dollars. Finally, we compare the cost of low intensity conflict like Somalia, to the cost of a full scale conflict (Afghanistan) and to the cost of an autarkic state (North Korea) for the international community in the year 2008.The results indicate that the cost of war more than doubles the cost of low intensity conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Sami Bensassi & Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, 2011. "How Costly is Modern Maritime Piracy for the International Community?," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 208, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:iaidps:208

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Douglas Marcouiller, S.J., 2000. "Hijacking, Hold-Up, and International Trade," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 477, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
    3. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, 2005. "Anarchy And Autarky: Endogenous Predation As A Barrier To Trade," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(1), pages 189-213, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Anderson, James E. & Bandiera, Oriana, 2006. "Traders, cops and robbers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 197-215, September.
    6. Helen B Bendall, 2010. "Cost of piracy: A comparative voyage approach," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 12(2), pages 178-195, June.
    7. James E. Anderson, 2006. "Commercial Policy in a Predatory World," NBER Working Papers 12576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, 2002. "Insecurity And The Pattern Of Trade: An Empirical Investigation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 342-352, May.
    9. Gordon Wilmsmeier & Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, 2009. "Determinants of maritime transport costs -- a panel data analysis for Latin American trade," Transportation Planning and Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 105-121, October.
    10. José de Sousa & Daniel Mirza & Thierry Verdier, 2009. "Trade and the Spillovers of Transnational Terrorism," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(IV), pages 453-461, December.
    11. Nitsch, Volker & Schumacher, Dieter, 2004. "Terrorism and international trade: an empirical investigation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 423-433, June.
    12. S. Brock Blomberg & Gregory D. Hess, 2006. "How Much Does Violence Tax Trade?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 599-612, November.
    13. Maximo Mejia & Pierre Cariou & Francois-Charles Wolff, 2009. "Is maritime piracy random?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(9), pages 891-895.
    14. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
    15. Mirza, Daniel & Verdier, Thierry, 2008. "International trade, security and transnational terrorism: Theory and a survey of empirics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 179-194, June.
    16. Leeson, Peter T., 2007. "Better off stateless: Somalia before and after government collapse," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 689-710, December.
    17. Michele Fratianni & Heejoon Kang, 2006. "International Terrorism, International Trade, and Borders," Working Papers 2006-13, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
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    1. How Costly is Modern Maritime Piracy?
      by UDADISI in UDADISI on 2013-01-17 07:12:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Alfredo Burlando & Anca D. Cristea & Logan M. Lee, 2015. "The Trade Consequences of Maritime Insecurity: Evidence from Somali Piracy," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 525-557, August.
    2. Paul Hallwood & Thomas J. Miceli, 2014. "Modern Maritime Piracy," Working papers 2014-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. Flückiger, Matthias & Ludwig, Markus, 2015. "Economic shocks in the fisheries sector and maritime piracy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 107-125.
    4. Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Sami Bensassi, 2013. "The Price Of Modern Maritime Piracy," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(5), pages 397-418, October.
    5. Singh, C. & Bedi, A.S., 2012. "‘War on piracy’: the conflation of Somali piracy with terrorism in discourse, tactic and law," ISS Working Papers - General Series 543, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    6. Julian Hinz & Elsa Leromain, 2016. "Politics of Global Value Chains," Working Papers 1026, Economic Research Forum, revised Jul 2016.

    More about this item


    Piracy; International trade; Gravity equation; cost of conflict; security;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions

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