Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

J. Douglass Klein




piracy, attacks, penalty, statistics, analysis


From 2006 to 2010, the number of reported piracy incidents perpetrated by Somali pirates, has increased from 19 to 212 per year, an alarming trend for the international shipping industry. This paper examines the increasing number of pirate attacks within the context of the theory developed in, Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach (Becker, 1968). This paper demonstrates the supply of pirates is a function of probability of punishment, severity of penalty, as well as institutional factors. This research entails a theoretical discussion, and an analysis of the available data on Somali piracy. The theoretical discussion combines theory with current studies on piracy. The data analysis examines the effect of deterrence strategies on the success of pirate attacks. The data for the statistical analysis is primarily taken from The International Maritime Bureau annual piracy reports from 2006-2010. One hundred attacks will be randomly selected from the total (600), and additional data collected from other published reports. The synthesis of Becker’s model and a statistical analysis of Somali piracy deterrence efforts offers a unique approach to studying the current dilemma. This research includes a theoretical discussion and an empirical model that should provide some insight into which current strategies are effective against the increasing pirate threat.