Hooligans

Review d'Economie Politique, Forthcoming

Posted: 25 Jan 2012 Last revised: 14 Jul 2012

See all articles by Peter T. Leeson

Peter T. Leeson

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Daniel J. Smith

Political Economy Research Institute and Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University

Nicholas A. Snow

Wabash College - Economics

Date Written: January 23, 2012

Abstract

This paper analyzes hooligans: rival football fans bent on brawling. It develops a simple theory of hooligans as rational agents. We model hooligans as persons who derive utility from conflict. Legal penalties for conflicting with non-hooligans drive hooligans to form a kind of “fight club” where they fight only one another. This club makes it possible for hooligans to realize gains from trade. But it attracts ultra-violent persons we call “sadists.” If the proportion of fight-club members who are sadists grows sufficiently high, the fight club self-destructs. Rules that regulate the form club conflict can take, but don’t eliminate conflict, can prevent the club from self-destructing even when populated exclusively by sadists. This creates strong pressure for private rules that regulate conflict to emerge within the club. To illustrate our theory we examine the private rules that developed for this purpose among English football hooligans.

Suggested Citation

Leeson, Peter T. and Smith, Daniel J. and Snow, Nicholas A., Hooligans (January 23, 2012). Review d'Economie Politique, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1990531

Peter T. Leeson (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.peterleeson.com

Daniel J. Smith

Political Economy Research Institute and Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University ( email )

MTSU Box 190
1301 E. Main St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37132-0001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.danieljosephsmith.com/

Nicholas A. Snow

Wabash College - Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 352
Crawfordsville, IN 47933-0352
United States

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