From Wild West to the Godfather: Enforcement Market Structure
41 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2001 Last revised: 24 Oct 2010
Date Written: September 2001
Weak states enable private enforcement but it does not always fade away in the presence of strong states. We develop a general equilibrium model of the market organization of enforcers (self-enforcers, competitive specialized enforcers or monopoly) who defend endowments from predators. We provide conditions under which a Mafia emerges, persists and is stable. Mafias are most likely to emerge at intermediate stages of economic development. Private enforcers might provide better enforcement to the rich than would a welfare-maximizing state - hence the State may find it difficult to replace the Mafia or competitive private enforcers.
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