Is Software Piracy a Middle Class Crime? Investigating the Inequality-Piracy Channel
University of St. Gallen Economics Discussion Paper No. 2005-18
45 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2005
Date Written: August 2005
This paper uses a sample of 71 countries in a cross-country context to empirically analyze the relationship between income distribution and software piracy rates. It measures income inequality by the Gini coefficient and alternatively by quintile shares. This analysis remedies previous econometric studies by controlling for a wide range of factors that potentially influence national piracy rates and employing an instrumental variables approach. Results indicate that income inequality is negatively associated with piracy rates but also that the impact of various income classes on piracy rates may depend on the geographic region where a country is located. Moreover, the model predicts an inverted U-shaped relationship between piracy and per capita income and reveals an apparent inverse relationship between individualism and software piracy. In addition, the results seem robust to the inclusion of additional covariants often employed in predicting piracy rates and the occurrence of property crime.
Keywords: Intellectual property rights, software piracy, income inequality, economics of crime
JEL Classification: K42, K11, D3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation