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Economic Research Papers on Crime

Measuring the Impact of Terror: An Event Study of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
Piotr Konwicki, World Economics, March 2018
Events observed in Israel include terror attacks, controversial elections and unexpected wars, the impact of which can be analysed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in terms of abnormal returns. Results show that defence and high-tech industries react positively to these events while other industries have a negative reaction. Recent data demonstrate that these events create positive abnormal market reactions when Israel is at war with Palestine and Lebanon because of the high number of defence and high-tech companies listed on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. A phenomenon of the ‘normalisation of terror’ can be observed in the stock exchange, as the market reacted negatively to events in 2002 but has become more resilient to recent events.
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The Diseconomies of Terrorism
Peter J. Phillips, World Economics, December 2011
The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) contains many active and inactive terrorist groups. The defining characteristic of the terrorist groups contained in the GTD is smallness. Unlike the modern business enterprise, for example, there appears to be no trend towards ‘bigness’. This paper presents an analysis of the size distribution of terrorist groups and the implications of this size distribution for the technological conditions under which the output of terrorism may be increased. With net internal and external diseconomies to larger-scale production of terrorism, we should observe relatively small terrorist groups and little or no tendency for the number and size of terrorist groups in the ‘terrorism industry’ to increase. These facts do characterise the empirically observed size distribution of terrorist groups, and imply that the technological conditions under which the output of terrorism may be increased are characterised by internal and external diseconomies to larger-scale production of terrorism.
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The Economics of Copyright
Ray Corrigan & Mark Rogers, World Economics, September 2005
The copyright industries—such as music, film, software and publishing—occupy a significant and growing share of economic activity. Current copyright law protects the creator for up to 70 years after their death, significantly longer than patent protection (20 years after invention). Copyright law aims to balance the incentive to create new work against the costs associated with high prices and restricted access to this work. This paper reviews the economic issues behind copyright and how these are challenged by changes in technology and market structure. While economics provides a powerful conceptual framework for understanding the trade-offs involved, the paper argues that our empirical knowledge base is very weak. Much more empirical analysis is needed to understand the impacts of changes to copyright legislation. Without such analysis, policy and legal debates will continue to be based largely on anecdote and rhetoric.
The Costs of Violent Crime
Giles Atkinson, Susana Mourato & Andrew Healey, World Economics, December 2003
This paper reviews a number of studies that have sought to estimate the economic costs of criminal offending and, more specifically, violent crime. Firstly, it discusses those approaches that have sought to describe the ‘big picture’ by calculating the aggregate burden of all crime. These studies yield useful overall summaries about the magnitude of the crime problem but also reveal how little is known about the value of the ‘intangible’ effects of violent crime (e.g. the anxiety suffered by potential victims or the pain and suffering imposed on actual victims). Secondly, the authors review the growing number of contributions that have begun the process of filling this gap through novel applications of nonmarket valuation methods in a crime context. In particular, the findings of a recent attempt to estimate the costs of categories of violent crime (of varying levels of severity) in the United Kingdom using the contingent valuation method are discussed. Whilst valuing the intangible costs of violent crime is a challenging task, a more explicit assessment is needed not just to improve the transparency of public decision-making but also to ensure that policy benefits of crime prevention can be compared directly with the costs of implementation.
An Economic Analysis of the Mafia
David Maddison & Marilena Pollicino, World Economics, June 2003
This paper reviews the current economic thinking on the Mafia phenomenon. It distinguishes the Mafia from ordinary criminal gangs by the desire of the former for the exclusive right to commit criminal acts. The existence of the Mafia in particular locations at particular times is explained by the abdication of power or by the state’s unwitting creation of illegal markets. The Mafia’s involvement in the supply of illicit goods is due to its ability to prey on common criminals, while its involvement in the supply of legal goods is in order to police anti-competitive agreements amongst businessmen. Contrary to common belief, there may even be instances in which the Mafia promotes public welfare. More research is required to explain the continuing popularity of the Mafia and to identify the social costs that make it worthwhile tackling the Mafia.
The Black Economy - Benefit frauds or tax evaders?
Jim Thomas, World Economics, March 2000
One answer to the question "How Rich are We?" is to compare levels of National Income either across countries or for a single country over time. However, the relevance of this approach depends on how accurately National Income measures the output of goods and services of a country. While it is difficult to measure, the Black Economy represents the output of goods and services that is not generally captured in the National Income Accounts. This article discusses the problems of measuring the size of the Black Economy and speculates on the questions of who is involved and how. The relative importance of Tax Evasion versus Benefit Fraud is discussed.