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Professor Anja Shortland is a Professor of Political Economy. Anja studies private governance in the world’s trickiest markets: hostages, fine art, and antiquities—and how people live, trade, and invest in complex and hostile territories. Although often based on data analysis, her work usually cuts across disciplinary boundaries adopting techniques and insights from sociology, engineering, geography, politics, international relations and economics.

Anja was an Engineering and Economics undergraduate at Oxford and then did her Masters and PhD in International Relations at the LSE. Before coming to King's she worked as a lecturer in Economics at Leicester, a Reader in Economics at Brunel University and as a consultant to the World Bank.

Office hours

Wednesday: 11.30 - 12.30 (online)

Friday: 11.30 - 12.30 (in Bush House NE 7.09 on a drop-in basis) 

*Please note: My office hour on 18 February will be online*


Anja's research focuses on how people structure trades in markets where states do not reliably provide law and order. How can legal entities successfully transact with criminal enterprises? How do private enterprises control and discourage criminal activity when law enforcement is weak? Anja has published widely on the issue of kidnap and hijack for ransom and co-authored the 2013 World Bank Policy Report: "The Pirates of Somalia: Ending the Threat; Rebuilding a Nation." Her books: Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business is published by Oxford University Press in 2019. Here recent work has been on private governance and property rights in the art market, including her new book Lost Art: The Art Loss Register’s Casebook published by Unicorn Press in June 2021.

Anja welcomes PhD applications in the fields of the economics of crime, organised crime, cybercrime and informal governance, including from professionals with experience in these areas. 


  • Political Economy of Organised Crime (Masters)
  • Economics of Crime (Year 3)

PhD Supervision

Anja welcomes PhD applications in the fields of the economics of crime, informal governance and peace science, including from professionals with experience in these areas.