'Robin Hook': The Developmental Effects of Somali Piracy

39 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2011

See all articles by Anja Shortland

Anja Shortland

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Date Written: September 1, 2011


Naval counter-piracy measures off Somalia have failed to change the incentives for pirates, raising calls for land-based approaches that may involve replacing piracy as a source of income. This paper evaluates the effects of piracy on the Somali economy to establish which (domestic) groups benefit from ransom monies. Given the paucity of economic data on Somalia, we evaluate province-level market data, nightlight emissions and high resolution satellite imagery. We show that significant amounts of ransom monies are spent within Somalia. The impacts appear to be spread widely, benefiting the working poor and pastoralists and offsetting the food price shock of 2008 in the pirate provinces. Pirates appear to invest their money principally in the main cities of Garowe and Bosasso rather than in the backward coastal communities.

Keywords: Somalia, piracy, cash transfers, economic development, remote sensing, satellite imaging

JEL Classification: K42, O17, O18, R11

Suggested Citation

Shortland, Anja, 'Robin Hook': The Developmental Effects of Somali Piracy (September 1, 2011). DIW Berlin Discussion Paper No. 1155, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1940271 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1940271

Anja Shortland (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117

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