Incentives vs. the TSA

by on December 31, 2010 at 2:37 pm in Economics, Law | Permalink

Every spring, private security officers at San Francisco International Airport compete in a workplace "March Madness"-style tournament for cash prizes, some as high as $1,500.

The games: finding illegal items and explosives in carry-on bags; successfully picking locks on difficult-to-open luggage; and spotting a would-be terrorist (in this case Covenant Aviation Security's president, Gerald L. Berry) on security videos.

"The bonuses are pretty handsome," Berry said. "We have to be good – equal or better than the feds. So we work at it, and we incentivize."

Somehow, this I had not known, nor had I known it was possible:

Some of the nation's biggest airports are responding to recent public outrage over security screening by weighing whether they should hire private firms such as Covenant to replace the Transportation Security Administration. Sixteen airports, including San Francisco and Kansas City International Airport, have made the switch since 2002.

The full story is here.

1 Nick L December 31, 2010 at 11:05 am
2 Jason Yip December 31, 2010 at 12:09 pm

It seems that nothing will change procedurally though which means no real response to "recent public outrage"

3 Bill December 31, 2010 at 12:23 pm

From the same article:

"One independent report found that private security contracts were 9 to 17 percent higher than the TSA's costs. Mica says the difference is "concocted." "

Maybe Xe.

4 dirk December 31, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Is nobody else concerned that the president of the security firm is a would-be terrorist?

5 Yancey Ward December 31, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Prediction- all airports eventually switch over, and we still have a TSA.

6 Andrew January 1, 2011 at 2:09 am

"Hey buddy! No getting back in line!"

7 Anonymous January 1, 2011 at 7:46 am

Great. Incentives to be more intrusive. How about instead incentives for how fast they process passengers, for how few false positives they pull aside for further screening, and incentives for every time they look the other way about enforcing some dumbshit rule that's supposed to keep us "safer".

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