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Tilburg Law and Economics Center

TILEC supports and stimulates academic research on the governance of economic activity. It fosters academically path breaking and practically relevant research and aims to be a leading center worldwide.

TILEC Seminar: Anja Shortland (King's College London)

The Role of Insurers in Governing Criminal Markets
10:45-11:45, T 50A

Dr Anja Shortland is Reader in Political Economy. She is also the Research Group leader for Political Economy of Peace and Security. Her current research projects are in peace science and the economics of crime. Although often based on data analysis, her work usually cuts across disciplinary boundaries adopting techniques and insights from sociology, engineering, geography, politics, international relations and economics.

Anja was an Engineering and Economics undergraduate at Oxford and then did her Masters and PhD in International Relations at the LSE. Before coming to King's she worked as a lecturer in Economics at Leicester, a Reader in Economics at Brunel University and as a consultant to the World Bank.


Anja's research broadly falls into three categories:

1) the economics of crime,

2) informal governance, and

3) civil conflict.

She is currently working on the topic of kidnap for ransom, examining who kidnaps and why, how ransoms are negotiated and kidnaps resolved and who provides the governance for this tricky market. She has published widely on the issue of maritime piracy and co-authored the 2013 World Bank Policy Report: "The Pirates of Somalia: Ending the Threat; Rebuilding a Nation." 


Crime is insurable, because insurers constrain the options of their customers by mandating or providing incentives to undertake certain precautions. However, for some niche products - such as kidnap for ransom and high value fine art - insurers must also discipline the perpetrators of crime. I show that specialist insurers at Lloyd’s of London have created complex polycentric governance architectures to order these criminal markets. Insurers retain the services of experts who help legal entities negotiate, contract, and trade with criminals and extra-legal organisations. The underwriting room at Lloyd’s serves as an information hub, which stabilises prices and facilitates reputation-based solutions for trades with prisoners’ dilemma characteristics. Insurers massively reduce the incentive for criminals to engage in crime and enforce behavioural norms to limit the cost of crime. This underpins the demand for insurance and ensures that it can be profitably supplied.


When: 12 September 2018 10:45

End date: 12 September 2018 11:45

Where: Tias building