Alexander Sandkamp, Vincent Stamer, Shuyao Yang, 24 January 2022

Despite having disappeared from the news since its peak in 2011, piracy continues to threaten maritime shipping. Combining firm-level customs data and ship position data with information on pirate attacks, this column sheds light on the dimensions along which piracy disrupts trade. It shows that exporting firms respond to piracy by switching from ocean to air shipping, while ships re-route in order to avoid affected regions. Despite these adjustments, total exports along affected routes decline. 

Antonio Accetturo, Michele Cascarano, Guido de Blasio, 15 April 2020

From the 16th to the early 19th century, coastal areas of Italy (especially in the south-west) were subject to attacks by pirates launched from the shores of northern Africa. To protect themselves, residents of coastal locations moved inland to mountainous and rugged areas. This column shows how relocation constrained local economic development for a long period after the piracy threat had subsided and may have had aggregate consequences on Italy’s post-WWII development.

Tim Besley, Thiemo Fetzer, Hannes Mueller, 28 February 2013

Somali piracy has created a major externality due to disruption to shipping, especially in the Gulf of Aden. How costly is this anarchy? This column analyses micro-data on individual shipping contracts and finds that piracy increased transport costs by around 8%. The $120 million in net revenues that pirates generate are more than offset by the costs borne by the shipping industry, which lie between $0.9 billion and $3.3 billion.

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CEPR Policy Research