Several weeks ago I posted on the first in a three-part series of papers I am writing that examines the economics of pirates entitled, "An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization."
I am now pleased to present the second paper in this series entitled, "Pirational Choice: The Economics of Infamous Pirate Practices."
Here is the abstract:
This paper uses rational choice theory to analyze the behavior of pirates. It pierces the myth and mystique of pirate behavior and in doing so provides an economics of piratical practice. I consider three infamous pirate practices: the notorious pirate flag, the "Jolly Roger," piratical torture, and pirate conscription. I argue that these seemingly eccentric pirate practices were in fact rationally-chosen responses to the unique circumstances pirates confronted in their pursuit of profit. Further, each practice effectively promoted pirates' goal. My analysis identifies what might be called 'pirational choice.' The distinction between rational and pirational choice lies not in the irrationality of pirates, as traditional pop-culture depictions of pirates suggest, but rather in the unusual circumstances of pirate decision making. These circumstances are responsible for both the extraordinary features that make pirates perfect fodder for entertainment and the distinctive practices that pirates employed.
You can download the paper here. I hope you enjoy it.
Be on the lookout for the finale to my three-part series this fall. Arrgh.