Thou Shalt Not Steal. Taking Aversion with Legal Property Claims

37 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2020 Last revised: 26 Jan 2020

See all articles by Marco Faillo

Marco Faillo

University of Trento - Faculty of Economics

Matteo Rizzolli

LUMSA University

Stephan Tontrup

New York University School of Law

Date Written: December 9, 2019

Abstract

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

Faillo, Marco and Rizzolli, Matteo and Tontrup, Stephan, Thou Shalt Not Steal. Taking Aversion with Legal Property Claims (December 9, 2019). Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 71, No. 1, 2019, NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 20-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3500945 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3500945

Marco Faillo

University of Trento - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Via Inama 5
Trento, I-38100
Italy

Matteo Rizzolli

LUMSA University ( email )

Via Pompeo Magno
Roma, Rome 00191
Italy

Stephan Tontrup (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
+1. 917 535 1165 (Phone)

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