Lawlessness and Economics Alternative Modes of Governance by Avinash K. Dixit

By Avinash K. Dixit

This booklet builds on those reports and constructs a toolkit of theoretical versions to investigate them.

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Extra resources for Lawlessness and Economics Alternative Modes of Governance

Example text

Finally, organized crime provides services of information as well as enforcement (Gambetta 1993; Varese 2000; Whiting 1999; and others). In a society without state law, there is no external mechanism to ensure honesty of the arbitrator, the private judge, or the mafioso. That has to be self-enforcing, based on reputation considerations in a long-term relationship. Even though the participants in the economic transactions may not meet the same partners repeatedly, each of them can have a repeated interaction with the person or organization that provides the governance, so an honest equilibrium of this kind is logically conceivable.

Some or all of the agent’s action and cost and the principal’s gain may be observable only to the person in question, or observable to both parties but not provable or verifiable to outsiders, or verifiable to some industry experts but not to the general public including officials of state law. The principal and the agent share a common interest in writing as efficient a contract as the information and institutions allow, but then the agent will behave opportunistically and pursue his own best interest to the extent that the contract allows.

In a large population where one player may meet different potential partners in different periods, the news of a deviation may be communicated to others with less than certainty. The population may have people with different preferences or behaviors, and a player’s action may convey information about his type. Strategies other than permanent disengagement may be used. However, the general idea of a trade-off between immediate gains and subsequent losses underlies them all. In later chapters I will develop several such applications.

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