Explaining organized crime in Europe: Are economists always right?

Felia Allum, Jennifer Sands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (SciVal)


Over the last 35 years, the acclaimed American political economist, Thomas C. Schelling, has asserted his belief that organized crime is purely monopoly enterprise. His definition of the phenomenon remains highly influential and continues to form the basis of many definitions of organized crime today. This article outlines Schelling's economic definition of organized crime and then applies it to an analysis of the major organized crime groups operating in the states of the European Union. It concludes that a purely economic definition is inadequate to define organized crime in Europe in the twenty-first century and that, in order to understand the phenomenon fully, other variables need to be introduced and appreciated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-160
Number of pages28
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law


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