chapter  2
64 Pages

Modeling Criminal Street Gangs as Organizations

WithLiza Vertinsky

This chapter explores alternative economic approaches towards collective action and joint production that can be used to shed light on different organizational aspects of criminal street gangs. It provides a survey of economic approaches towards collective action and team production which can be employed to understand the structure and behavior of criminal street gangs. The chapter also explores an economic model which emphasizes the importance of gangs as agreement enforcing institutions. It examines an economic perspective on the tensions inherent in collective action and how this tension may play out in different contexts. The chapter also examines and connects the theories with some general characteristics of gangs. It argues that in order to model group behavior it is necessary to move away from the simple economic paradigm of individual choice to encompass different forms and levels of interaction between individuals.