Associate Professor in Political Science, Brown University

David Skarbek

Working Papers

Crisis in American Policing: How to Have Less Crime and More Justice. Manuscript in preparation. 

Abolish the Police? An Economic Framework for Analysis

Vigilantism (with Danilo Freire)

Forced Cooperation: The Evolution of Norms within a Society of Captives (with C. Seagren). Revise & resubmit. 

Deaths and Disappearances in the Pinochet Regime: A New Dataset. (with D. Freire, J. Meadowcroft, and E. Guerrero). Under review. 

Does It Matter Who Candidates Marry? Assessing the Electoral Consequences of Interracial Marriage (w P. Testa and B. Davis). In preparation. 

​What makes signals credible?

Book Reviews 

Review of Competing for Control: Gangs and the Social Order of Prisons, by David C. Pyrooz & Scott H. Decker Punishment & Society, 2020

Review of WTF?! An Economic Tour of the Weird, by Peter T. Leeson Public Choice2018

Review of ​Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail, by Marcus Rediker Journal of Economic History​, 2014

Review of The Modern Prison Paradox: Politics, Punishments, and Social Community, by Amy E. Lerman  Public Choice, 2014

Review Essay of Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain's Failing Prisons, by Vicky Pryce Economic Affairs, 2014

Review of Mafias on the Move: How Organized Crime Conquers New Territories, by Federico Varese Public Choice, 2012

Book chapters & Other Writings

Analytical Narratives and Institutional Analysis

Essays in Honor of Peter Boettke, 2020.

​Prisoner's Law

Legal Systems Very Different From Ours, 2019

Varieties of Prison Social Order: Extra-legal Governance Behind Bars
The Political Economist Newsletter, Fall

Self-Governance, Property Rights, and Illicit Commerce

Research Handbook on Austrian Law & Economics, 2017  

Prison Gangs (with  D. Freire)  

Handbook of Corrections in the United States, 2017

Polycentrism and Prison Gangs (with A. Marcum)

The Annual Proceedings of the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations, 2012

Restricting Reconstruction: Occupational Licensing and Natural Disasters 

The Political Economy of Hurricane Katrina and Community Rebound, 2010 

Adam's Apple: Using Johnny Appleseed to Teach the Invisible Hand' (with J. Hall) 

Expanding Teaching and Learning Horizons in Economic Education, 2009

Journal Articles

Institutional Design and Elite Support for Climate Policies: Evidence from Latin American Countries 

[with D. Freire and U. Mignozzetti]

Journal of Experimental Political Science, 2020 

Qualitative Research Methods for Institutional Analysis. 

Journal of Institutional Economics, 2020

The Decline and Rise of Institutions 

[with Liya Palagashvili and E. Piano] 

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Elements, 2017

Covenants without the Sword? Comparing Prison Self-Governance Globally 

American Political Science Review, 2016

Criminal Rituals 

[with P. Wang]

Global Crime, 2015

Prison Gangs and the Community Responsibility System 

[with M. Garrett Roth] 

Review of Behavioral Economics, 2014

The Effect of Prison Gang Membership on Recidivism 

[with B. Dooley and A. Seals] 

Journal of Criminal Justice, 2014

Why Didn't Slaves Revolt More Often During the Middle Passage? 

[with A. Marcum] 

Rationality & Society, 2014

The Governance Institutions of a Drug Trafficking Organization 

[with J. Kostelnik] 

Public Choice, 2013 

The Industrial Organization of Street Gangs 

[with R. Sobel]  

Journal of Gang Research, 2012

Anarchy, Groups, and Conflict: An Experiment on the Emergence of Protective Associations 

[with A. Smith and B. Wilson] 

Social Choice & Welfare, 2012

Prison Gangs, Norms, and Organizations 

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2012

  • Winner, Emerald Citations of Excellence 2015
  • ​Winner, FEE Prize for Best Article in Austrian Economics 2013

Sweatshops, Opportunity Costs, and Non-Monetary Compensation: Evidence from El Salvador 

[with Skarbek et al] 

American Journal of Economics & Sociology, 2012

Governance and Prison Gangs 

American Political Science Review, 2011

  • Reprinted in The Economics of Governance (ed. Donald Wittman) Edward Elgar Publisher, 2017. 
  • Reprinted in Transnational Organized Crime (ed. James Sheptycki) Sage Publications, 2014.
  • ​Discussed on Marginal Revolution

What Aid Can't Do: Reply to Ranis 

[with P. Leeson] 

The Cato Journal, 2011

Putting the "Con" into Constitutions: The Economics of Prison Gangs 

The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, 2010

Criminal Constitutions 

[with P. Leeson] 

Global Crime, 2010

Self-Governance in San Pedro Prison 

The Independent Review, 2010

Alertness, Local Knowledge, and Johnny Appleseed 

Review of Austrian Economics, 2009

What Can Aid Do? 

[with P. Leeson] 

The Cato Journal, 2009

F.A. Hayek's Influence on Nobel Prize Winners  

Review of Austrian Economics, 2009

Market Failure and Natural Disasters: A Reexamination of Anti-Gouging Laws 

Public Contract Law Journal, 2008

The Price is Right: Regulation, Reputation, and Recovery 

[with B. Skarbek] 

Dartmouth Law Journal, 2008 

Occupational Licensing and Asymmetric Information: Post-Hurricane Evidence from Florida 

The Cato Journal, 2008

Sweatshops Wages and Third World Living Standards: Are the Jobs Worth the Sweat? 

[with B. Powell] 

Journal of Labor Research, 2006