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Lost in the Mail: A Field Experiment on Crime

30 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2011  

Marco Castillo

Texas A&M University

Ragan Petrie

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Maximo Torero

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Angelino Viceisza

Spelman College; International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: January 1, 2009

Abstract

Crime in the mail sector can hamper the development of electronic markets. We use a field experiment to detect crime and measure its differential impacts. We subtly, and realistically, manipulate the content and information available in mail sent to households and detect high levels of shirking and stealing. Eighteen percent of the mail never arrived at its destination, and even more was lost if there was even a slight hint of something additional inside the envelope. Our study demonstrates that privatization has been unable to extricate moral hazard and that crime is strategic and not equally distributed across the population.

Suggested Citation

Castillo, Marco and Petrie, Ragan and Torero, Maximo and Viceisza, Angelino, Lost in the Mail: A Field Experiment on Crime (January 1, 2009). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 11-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1736173 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1736173

Marco Castillo (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.marcocastillo.org

Ragan Petrie

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Maximo Torero

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Angelino Viceisza

Spelman College ( email )

350 Spelman Lane S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30314-4399
United States

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

2033 K Street, NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006
United States
+1-202-862-8196 (Phone)
+1-202-467-4439 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/viceisza/

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