Public Choice

, Volume 171, Issue 3–4, pp 283–301 | Cite as

Free riders: the economics and organization of outlaw motorcycle gangs

Article

Abstract

This paper investigates the organizational structure of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, one of the largest and best known North American motorcycle gangs. Within the first few decades since their establishment, the Angels developed a hierarchical organizational form, which allowed them to overcome internal conflict and exploit the gains from their involvement in criminal activities. This organizational form, I argue, played a central role in the rapid success of the Angels in the North American (and international) criminal landscape.

Keywords

Outlaw motorcycle gangs Hells Angels Organized crime 

Notes

Acknowledgements

In writing this paper, I particularly benefited from comments by the Editors, an anonymous referee, Peter J. Boettke, Alexander Salter, Bryan Cutsinger, David Lucas, Julia Norgaard, Paola Suarez, Solomon Stein, and by participants at the 2016 Southern Economic Association meeting. All errors are my own.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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