Killing for Money and the Economic Theory of Crime

Author:  Samuel Cameron

Publication Date:  2013

Abstract:  There is a large literature on the economics of crime and punishment, yet surprisingly little attention is paid to the receipt of money for crime. “Contract killing” is surprisingly neglected not only by economists but also by social scientists in general. In this paper, I look at the case not of professional gangster “hitmen” but of individuals who have found themselves in a position where they wish to have a killing carried out. This discussion does not condone the practice any more than an economic analysis of suicide is an inducement to individuals to kill themselves. To the lay reader, the cases where an individual feels the need to pay for killing may seem to be such that rationality is not a likely form of behaviour. However, the economics of crime has adopted the use of the rationality postulate as a heuristic for all types of crime.

Full Citation:  Cameron, Samuel. ‘Killing for Money and the Economic Theory of Crime’. Review of Social Economy 72, no. 1 (2013): 28–41.

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