Profs. Hallwood and Miceli Complete Manuscript

Uconn sealProfessors Paul Hallwood and Thomas Miceli have just completed the manuscript of their book, Maritime Piracy and its Control: An Economic Analysis, which will be published by Palgrave-Macmillan. A brief synopsis follows:

Piracy is the oldest international crime, and in international law pirates are regarded as the ‘enemies of mankind’. While prevalent in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, piracy has not gone away. Today it primarily afflicts the waters off two continents – East and West Africa and Southeast Asian. It is a serious threat to international shipping, and it imposes high financial costs as well as costs in terms of human life and welfare.  Over the last ten years 3,000 or more pirate attacks, actual or attempted, have been reported, with annual costs estimated to be in the range of $6 billion to $7 billion.

The application of economic theory to maritime piracy is a direct application of the economic theory of law enforcement, and relies on two fundamental principles: first, that pirates behave rationally in the sense that they respond to threatened sanctions in deciding whether or not to commit illegal acts, and second, that an enforcement authority (whether under the control of a single government or a coalition of governments) stands ready to enforce those sanctions. With respect to the first of these claims, there is considerable evidence that domestic offenders do in fact respond to threatened punishments.  As for modern-day pirates, the huge material gain that they can earn from their criminal activity is surely an important objective, notwithstanding claims that Somali pirates are acting in response to overfishing and other unfair practices by foreign agents in Somali waters.

As to enforcement, we offer several reasons for the apparent insufficiency of enforcement efforts against maritime piracy. These include the public good nature of law enforcement in general; the high cost of detaining, prosecuting, and incarcerating pirates; and inconsistent (or in some cases non-existent) national laws against piracy. To understand why these problems have been allowed to persist, we examine the main features of international law that governs the conduct of nations, and conclude by reviewing several proposals that have been made for improving international enforcement efforts.  Our hope is that the application of economic theory to maritime piracy will lead to a better understanding of the nature of the problem while improving the quality of the debate regarding alternative responses.

Economics of the Oceans

Economics of the OceansRoutledge is publishing Professor Paul Hallwood‘s book, Economics of the Oceans, due out in February 2014.

On the Contents page Hallwood writes:

On the surface of the blue-green planet people have fought over the green bits for ages.  However, because they didn’t seem worth fighting over, they hardly bothered with the blue bits. Strange as it might seem, the green bits are mainly well tended while the blue bits are in awful disrepair.  Why is this? Let’s see if we can find out.

He then attempts to answer this question in 23 chapters using the tools of environmental economics, natural resource economics, and law and economics.

Interpreting the American Revolution as Civil War

Professor Paul Hallwood will have a paper published in Defence and Peace Economics entitled “Quantifying Greed and Grievance in Civil Wars: The American War of Independence”.  A strand in the political science literature asks ‘why do civil wars happen’? With blood diamonds in mind one possibility is greed; but in many other cases civil wars are provoked by grievances against the central power – Chechnya and Kosovo come to mind.  Hallwood collects data on the cost of British Empire membership and war costs to the American colonists and passes them through his economic model to find that the Americans were over-whelmingly motivated by grievance. In over 200-years of scholarship, while some historians argue as much, others emphasize the greed hypothesis, to be rid of the economic burdens of colonial status. As one historian observed a generation ago, the debate raged on because of a lack of a scientific model to settle the dispute.  Hallwood offers such a model.

Credibility and the International Monetary Regime

Professor Paul Hallwood has four chapters in the above titled book just published by Cambridge University Press in England.  The chapters are “Crash! Expectational Aspects of the Departures of the United Kingdom and United States from the Inter-War Gold Standard”;  “Realignment Expectations and the US Dollar, 1890–1897: Was There a ‘Peso’ Problem?”; “Credibility and Fundamentals: Were the Classical and Inter-War Gold Standards Well-Behaved Target Zones?”; and “Did Impending War in Europe Help Destroy the Gold Bloc in 1936? An Internal Inconsistency Hypothesis?”  All four chapters were written with Ronald MacDonald and Ian Marsh, and the book is edited by Michael D. Bordo and Ronald MacDonald.

 Hallwood’s chapters demonstrate that adherence to a fixed exchange regime imposes severe monetary and fiscal discipline on member countries – not unlike the Euro-zone today; that at some point this discipline can become unbearable, though the USA did ride out the free-silver movement in the 1890s; that the gold standard was heavily implicated in the generation of the Great Depression: and that it was also implicated in the French defeat by Germany in 1940 as France for too long accepted the fiscal constraint of gold, restraining its military spending, even while Germany remilitarized.

Professor Hallwood’s Research with Professor MacDonald Elicits Strong Reactions in the UK

Faculty member Professor Paul Hallwood‘s work on fiscal federalism is recognized in a retrospecitive article as attracting “intensive political scutiny” in the on going debate on fiscal devolution in the UK, downward from the Westminster Parliament to the Scottish Parliament.  His original work appeared in the book New Wealth for Old Nations (Diane Coyle et al. eds, Princeton University Press, 2005) alongside papers by Paul Krugman, William Baumol, Edward Glaeser, James Heckman and others. Whether to include a question on fiscal autonomy in the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence is still being discussed by British politicians.

Read more here.

Prof. Hallwood publishes book on finances of Scotland

Professor Paul Hallwood will publish his eighth book in July this year: The Political Economy of Financing Scottish Government: Considering a New Constitutional Settlement for Scotland (with Ronald MacDonald), Edward Elgar Publishers, Cheltenham, 2009. Series editor Wallace Oates writes of the book “Hallwood and MacDonald make a compelling case for the devolution of fiscal authority to Scotland to increase fiscal autonomy and improve fiscal performance. They suggest not only the need for such devolution but provide a careful analysis and blueprint of how to do it.” Additionally, the book is motivated to find a fiscal settlement for Scotland that is most likely to hold the United Kingdom together at a time when the separatist Scottish National Party forms the Scottish administration. The topic is creating quite a stir already, see this article in the Scotsman.

The book is also available on Amazon