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Public good provision by prison gangs

Why are there prison gangs? Do they lead to more violence? David Sharbek studies policentric governance of prison gangs, especially those in the USA. There is less violence and unrest in prisons since the 1950s, the period when the first gangs appeared. So, gangs seems to correlate with a reduction of violence, not an increase. In fact, it is more likely that prison gangs provide an important service, they provide safety. Due to the increase of the number of inmates, with many prisoners not familiar with the norms within prison (first time prisoners) gangs do a lot of peer enforcement. They also set up businesses on smuggling drugs, mobile phones, and regulate these businesses with other gangs. Prison guards are reluctant to provide space for these illegal businesses since they are with too few to regulate the safety themselves, and cooperating with the gangs also will help them to function. David Sharbek is writing up a book on this fascinating topic which will appear next year.

By | June 24th, 2013|0 Comments

Traffic Jams at the Top of the World

On May 29 1953, 60 years ago, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepali Tenzing Norgay, were the first humans to reach the top of the Mount Everest. Since then more than 4000 people have reached the top. It has become an industry to guide people to the top of the world and consequently there are even traffic jams since many people reach the top at the same moment. The large number of people going to the top is causing problems. Since climbers leave behind trash, bodies (about 1% of the climbers die), and human waste, the top gets polluted. There are no trash collectors passing by. In order to improve the conditions and clean up the mess, some new rules are proposed, such as restricting access and providing only access to groups who do not leave waste behind. You can imagine that this is difficult to monitor, and one will be dependent on peer punishment and reputation building. Reputation will be important since expedition leaders go to the top many years in a row with guided clients who pay big amount of money in an effort to reach the top. In an article in the National Geographic it is mentioned that the Nepali government receives 3 million dollars in permit fees, but that more governmental interventions will not improve the situation due to the large amount of corruption in Nepal. In fact, teams pay governmental officials to monitor whether regulations are followed, but those officials don't even stay at the Base Camp, but go down where it is warmer. To improve the situation at the Mount Everest self-governance is needed among the climbers to sustain access to the mountain and sustain their own businesses in the long term.

By | May 26th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Boundary rules in Disney World

Every day many people go to Disney World, and many of the visitors want to attend one of the attractions of the park. Unfortunately there are more people going to Disney World than there are places available in the attractions to quickly enjoy one and move to the other. This leads to long lines, up to an hour or more. Continue reading “Boundary rules in Disney World” »

By | May 18th, 2013|Tags: , , |0 Comments