Market forces for mobsters too

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In a twist to the labor market flexibility debate, the Financial Times reports dramatically more flexible working hours in the Japanese underworld. Japanese police reveal over 50 percent of gang members are now "part-time," opting out of the hierarchical world of full-time mobsterhood – compared to 30% in the regular economy.

Gangs have also become more efficient. In spite of a steady advance in revenue, which has mirrored the economy's return to modest health since 2002, they have cut their workforce. Last year it fell by 1,600. "These guys are the best entrepreneurs in the country, certainly the most responsive to change in business conditions," says a lawyer who deals with underworld issues. Estimates of the size of crime-related activity remain notoriously sketchy, making it impossible for economists to calculate gains in total mobster factor productivity.

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