Associate Professor in Political Science, Brown University


David Skarbek

Working Papers


Vigilantism, Institutions, and Honor Culture (with Danilo Freire)


Analytical Narratives in Political Economy (with Emily Skarbek)


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 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
2017


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

Book Reviews 


Review of The Partisan Politics of Law and Order, by Georg Wenzelburger. A Critical Dialogue in Perspectives on Politics, 2021


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

pAPERS


​The Organization of Danish Gangs: A Transaction Cost Approach

[with S. Sløk-Madsen, A. Hansen, and A. Rezaei]

Trends in Organized Crime, 2021


​The Evolution of Norms within a Society of Captives

[with C. Seagren]

Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, 2021


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

[with D. Freire and U. Mignozzetti]

Journal of Experimental Political Science, 2021 


Qualitative Research Methods for Institutional Analysis. 

Journal of Institutional Economics, 2020

  • Shortlisted, 2021 Elinor Ostrom Prize, World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research
  • Winner, SDAE Prize for the Best Article in Austrian Economics 2020
  • ​The journal published three comments in response: Peter T. Leeson, Claude Ménard, and Mary M. Shirley


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


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


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

[with B. Powell] 

Journal of Labor Research, 2006