Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Law and Economics of Private Prosecutions in Industrial Revolution England

Koyama, Mark (2012): The Law and Economics of Private Prosecutions in Industrial Revolution England.

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Abstract

Can the market provide law enforcement? This paper addresses this question by examining an historical case-study: the system of private prosecutions that prevailed in England prior to the introduction of the police. Using a model of the market for crime, I examine why this system came under strain during the Industrial Revolution, and how private associations were able to emerge to internalize the externalities that caused the private system to generate too little deterrence. The model and historical evidence suggest that these private order institutions were partially successful in meliorating the problem of crime in a period when Public Choice considerations precluded the introduction of a professional police force.

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