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Economic Rockstar

Oct 22, 2015

Dr David Skarbek is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy and Undergraduate Exam Board Chair in the Department of Political Economy at Kings College, London.

David’s research interest is to understand how people define and enforce property rights in the absence of strong, effective governments. His work has examined incarceration, gangs, and crime in the United States.

David received a BS in Economics from San Jose State University and a MA and PhD in Economics from George Mason University. He previously taught in the political science department at Duke University.

David’s teaching include 'Research Methods for Politics’, 'Economics of Crime’ and 'Political Economy of Organized Crime’

David's new book is The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System (Oxford University Press). It examines how inmates create self-governance institutions to promote economic and social interactions behind bars.

In this episode you will learn:

  • what makes states stable.
  • how prisoners trade in a black market economy.
  • why gang-based governance in prisons looks very different today than 100 years ago.
  • why big prison systems have serious prison gang problems compared to small prison systems.
  • how women prisons are better controlled as they are governed in a decentralised way.
  • about the control that prisoners in adult correctional facilities have control over minors in juvenile correctional facilities.
  • whether private prisons result in a larger prison population.
  • diminishing returns to prison years.
  • and much more.
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