Thou Shalt Not Steal. Taking Aversion with Legal Property Claims
37 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2020 Last revised: 26 Jan 2020
Date Written: December 9, 2019
Some recent experimental literature on the taking game (a variation of the dictator game) suggests that human subjects may generally be taking averse, implying that the moral cost of taking exceeds the moral cost of not giving. In our experiment, our subjects could decide to take tangible objects (lottery scratchcards) brought from outside the lab and thus legally owned by other subjects. This legal treatment was compared with a more standard one where subjects earned their scratchcards inside the lab. Evidence is provided of a (weak) taking aversion that is greater when property is established inside the lab via an effort task than when it is pre-existing and legally enforceable outside the lab.
Keywords: property rights, taking aversion, methodology, strict anonymity, earned property rights, real property, free form dictator game
JEL Classification: C91, D23, K11, P14, P26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation