Eric Barker excerpts a study on pirate economics from the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization:
First, I examine the pirate flag, "Jolly Roger," which pirates used to signal their identity as unconstrained outlaws, enabling them to take prizes without costly conflict. Second, I consider how pirates combined heinous torture, public displays of "madness," and published advertisement of their fiendishness to establish a reputation that prevented costly captive behaviors. Pirates' infamous practices reduced their criminal enterprise's costs and increased its revenues, enhancing the profitability of life "on the account."
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.