Free Riders

The Economics and Organization of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

Originally published in Public Choice

This paper investigates the organizational structure of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, one of the largest and best known North American motorcycle gangs. Within the first few decades since their establishment, the Angels developed a hierarchical organizational form, which allowed them to overcome internal conflict and exploit the gains from their involvement in criminal activities. This organizational form, I argue, played a central role in the rapid success of the Angels in the North American (and international) criminal landscape.