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Fighting Maritime Piracy: Three Lessons from Pompeius Magnus


  • Christian Schubert

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)

  • Leonhard K. Lades

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)


Piracy in international waters is on the rise again, in particular off the coast of Somalia. While the dynamic game between pirates, ship-owners, insurance firms and the military seems to have reached some kind of equilibrium, piracy risks generating significant negative externalities to third parties (e.g. in terms of environmental hazards and terrorism), justifying attempts to contain it. We argue that these attempts may benefit from a look back - through the analytical lens of public choice theory - to the most successful counter-piracy campaign ever undertaken, namely, the one led by the Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) in 67 BC.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Schubert & Leonhard K. Lades, 2012. "Fighting Maritime Piracy: Three Lessons from Pompeius Magnus," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-017, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anja Shortland, 2010. "The Business of Piracy in Somalia," Weekly Report, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 6(23), pages 182-186.
    2. Shortland, Anja & Vothknecht, Marc, 2011. "Combating “maritime terrorism” off the coast of Somalia," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages 133-151.
    3. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    4. Powell, Benjamin & Ford, Ryan & Nowrasteh, Alex, 2008. "Somalia after state collapse: Chaos or improvement?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 657-670, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Peter Leeson, 2009. "The calculus of piratical consent: the myth of the myth of social contract," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 443-459, June.
    7. Peter T. Leeson, 2007. "An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1049-1094, December.
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    More about this item


    Piracy; Somalia; Public Choice Theory;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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