Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


International Relations


Tun-Jen Cheng

Committee Members

Dennis Smith

Hiroshi Kitamura


Maritime piracy varies from place to place and from age to age. This thesis aims to explain the variation of piracy across time and space by exploring the capability of establishing maritime governance against piracy. The spatial variation in the number of piratical attacks is explained by calculating the state capacity for governing the surrounding seas called Sea Power Index. The thesis argues that pirates particularly target waters near a state with “medium” levels of sea power because such states are not capable of enforcing strict regulations on piracy but can provide enough infrastructure and economy for pirates to have a profitable “business.” The variation in the frequency of piratical attacks across time is determined by the capability of the hegemonic powers in that time period. The dynamics of the prosperity and downfall of pirates are examined through a comparative case study. The main advantage in adopting the arguments above is that the thesis covers a gap in the literature by incorporating state-level maritime governance and international maritime governance to understand both spatial and temporal variations of piracy.

On-Campus Access Only