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Focus and Scope

Illicit economies have a major yet often overlooked influence on the development trajectories of countries. With a large number of people globally involved in the supply chains of illicit markets, these have undermined governance and catalysed insecurity in some contexts, whilst consolidating power and providing important economic spillovers for marginalised communities in others. The ways in which these markets influence and intertwine with development processes have historically been overlooked, with research produced in academic siloes.

Some of the world’s most complex conflicts and humanitarian emergencies are found in settings where illicit markets are protracted and pose significant challenges to the achievement of peace, development and security. This is indicative in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, Yemen, Syria, among others. However, the negative impacts of illicit markets are not confined to the Global South, but are manifested in, for example, unequal and disparate outcomes for ethnic minorities in criminal justice systems in the Global North. Simultaneously, involvement in these markets provide a vast number of people with the only viable option for relative livelihood and income security, as seen in the cultivation of poppy and coca crops in contexts of fragility and insecurity.

The Journal of Illicit Economies and Development (JIED) focuses explicitly on the relationship between illicit economies and comprehensive approaches to development. It aims to provide policy makers and practitioners with in-depth analyses into illicit markets and their potential impacts on the planning and implementation of projects in complex settings – whilst facilitating for the emergence of a new cross-disciplinary academic debate on these issues. JIED seeks to address the issues faced by policy makers and practitioners operating in Fragile and Conflict Affected Settings (FCAS) particularly. However, it welcomes the submission of studies from the Global North and non-conflict affected settings, where there is a clear need for further in-depth analyses of how illicit economies they affect wider socioeconomic processes and outcomes.

JIED is open to and actively encourages the use of new methodologies and approaches to researching illicit economies. For example, the emerging use of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) in mapping illicit crop cultivation or illicit supply routes for narcotics, arms, oil, among others, shows the need for new approaches to conceptualising illicit economies. From such technical and mixed-methods approaches through to ethnographic studies of illicit-market involved communities, the journal is cross-disciplinary in its outlook.

Publication Frequency

The journal is published online quarterly with three standard issues and one special issue per year. Articles are made available as soon as they are ready to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in getting content publicly available.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

Authors of articles published remain the copyright holders and grant third parties the right to use, reproduce, and share the article according to the Creative Commons license agreement.

Archiving Policy

All content published with LSE Press is assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for online tracking and referencing.

We register our journals and books with as many suitable indexers as possible and can provide advice to editors on how to improve the chances of application to high impact index services. All of our article metadata are openly available for harvesting by indexing services via OAI-PMH and the journals are registered with Open Archives for discovery.

We assist our editors with getting their journals indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and can provide advice on getting indexed in databases such as Scopus or Web of Science.

LSE Press content is LOCKSS enabled, and copies of all LSE Press content is also made available from LSE Research Online, the School’s open access repository.


JIED is supported by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime.

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