The Economics and Political Economy of Transportation Security

The Economics and Political Economy of Transportation Security

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

Kenneth Button

In this clear and observant book, Kenneth Button provides an overview of the economics and political economy of transport security, considering its policy from an economic perspective. His analysis applies micro-economic theory to transport issues, supporting and enhancing the larger framework of our knowledge about personal, industrial, and national security.

Chapter 7: The economics of shopping mall security

Kenneth Button

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, politics and public policy, public policy, terrorism and security, urban and regional studies, transport


Security is the mother of danger and the grandmother of destruction Thomas Fuller. Various elements of transportation networks have historically found themselves prone to attack both in conventional wars and by terrorists, broadly defined. While the focus of these attacks has in the past often involved links and terminals in inter-urban networks – airlines/ airports; railway lines/ railway stations and so on – the local, urban and suburban elements of logistics chains have not been left unscathed. The focus here is on the vulnerability of shopping malls – important urban and suburban interfaces between inbound flows of goods to retail outlets and outbound flows from retail outlets to final consumption. They are an integral part of the modern supply chain, and also an element that has a high profile, and that is difficult to secure (Helferich and Cook, 2002). Shopping malls provide important retail outlets that offer shoppers economies of scale and scope in their purchasing, and economies of market presence for retailers in their selling. They have grown significantly in number in the US and in many other countries over recent years, with increases in their size and range of facilities provided. They also often act as major recreation centers containing cinemas, bars and food outlets in addition to stores selling commodities to take away. Strolling and hanging-out in malls can also provide a distraction for teenagers, and a place to gain information that helps decision-making when online shopping.

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