- American Economic Journal: Microeconomics (Forthcoming)
How should law enforcement resources be allocated to minimize the
harms from flexible, chain-form trafficking organizations? I show
that optimal interventions focus on one target alone, the feeding
source (decapitation) or the revenue-generating tail (amputation).
Decapitation dismantles the crime chain under large budgets but
induces maximal expansion otherwise, whereas amputation generates a rich set of detection outcomes and limits the chain's size
response. A rule of thumb emerges for authorities to target tail
segments under small budgets and high detection contiguity, qualified by chain profitability and enforcement parameters. Real-world
interventions fail to coordinate on such efficient targeting.
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