||Thomas J. Micell, C. Paul Hallwood
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Everyone knows that piracy is the oldest of the international crimes, and in international law pirates are regarded as the "enemies of mankind". While prevalent in the XVII and XVIII centuries, piracy has not gone away. Today it primarily afflicts the waters off two continents, namely West and East Africa and Southeast Asia, but it can and does strike worldwide at any time. It is a very serious threat to international shipping, imposing high financial costs as well as costs in terms of welfare and even human life. Over the past ten years three thousand or more pirate attacks (actual or attempted), have been reported, with annual costs estimated to be in the range of $6-$7 billion. This amount is actually down from as much as $16 billion just a few years ago—due in large part, we believe, to the increasing use of on-board armed guards. Still, the problem remains a significant one that has bedeviled international efforts at enforcing anti-piracy laws. The purpose of this monograph is to use economic methods both to describe the nature of maritime piracy and to understand the difficulties involved in organizing optimal enforcement efforts. Using economic theory to understand the motivation for, and control of, maritime piracy is a direct application of the economic theory of law enforcement, which is a sub-field within the area of law and economics...