The enterprise “model” of organized crime: Assessing theoretical propositions*

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Abstract

In recent years, the study of organized crime has been oriented around the enterprise “model.” This model is really an approach to studying organized crime, founded on the notion that legal and illegal businesses are quite similar. This notion provides the method used by enterprise theorists: theories established for studying formal legal organizations are applied to the study of businesses that provide illegal goods and services. The most noteworthy research based on the enterprise approach is that of economist Peter Reuter. Reuter used principles of industrial organization and marketplace dynamics to predict that illegal enterprises will be relatively small and short lived, and that illegal markets will be characterized by competition, not by collusion. Here I seek to assess the degree to which Reuter’s propositions were confirmed or disconfirmed by observations of the numbers gambling industry in New York City in the 1960s. Most of Reuter’s propositions were not supported by the data used in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-430
Number of pages28
JournalJustice Quarterly
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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