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Not the sort of article you expect an economist to write

Over a decade ago, Swarthmore economist Fred Pryor wrote this fascinating article about reading through the records of the East German secret police who arrested him while he was doing dissertation research in East Germany in the early 1960s.

It pales in comparison, but when Sudhir Venkatesh and I were doing research on gangs there was always a lingering concern that a grand jury would ask for our data and we would face the choice of ratting out the gang or refusing to cooperate and being sent to jail. We both agreed jail was the wiser of the two options if it ever came to this. I once asked him whether the gang would protect us in jail.

“The gang will definitely protect me,” he replied. “You I’m not so sure about.”

(Thanks to my friend Jim Leitzel for the pointer to the Pryor article.)