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Historical Property Rights, Sociality, and the Emergence of Impersonal Exchange in Long-Distance Trade

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  • Erik O. Kimbrough
  • Vernon L. Smith
  • Bart J. Wilson

Abstract

This laboratory experiment explores the extent to which impersonal exchange emerges from personal exchange with opportunities for long-distance trade. We design a three-commodity production and exchange economy in which agents in three geographically separated villages must develop multilateral exchange networks to import a good only available abroad. For treatments, we induce two distinct institutional histories to investigate how past experience with property rights affects the evolution of specialization and exchange. We find that a history of unenforced property rights hinders our subjects' ability to develop the requisite personal social arrangements to support specialization and effectively exploit impersonal long-distance trade.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 1009-39

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:1009-39

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.1009
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Cited by:
  1. Taylor Jaworski & Bart J. Wilson, 2013. "Go West Young Man: Self-Selection and Endogenous Property Rights," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 886-904, April.
  2. Calbay, Arman, 2006. "Property Rights and Theory of Value," MPRA Paper 25827, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 31 Jul 2009.
  3. Erik O. Kimbrough & Alexander Vostroknutov, 2013. "Norms Make Preferences Social," Discussion Papers dp13-01, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  4. Bart J. Wilson, 2008. "Contra Private Fairness," Working Papers 08-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  5. Clemens, Georg & Rau, Holger A., 2014. "Do leniency policies facilitate collusion? Experimental evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 130, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  6. Maroš Servátka & Steven Tucker & Radovan Vadovič, 2011. "Words Speak Louder Than Money," Working Papers in Economics 11/13, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  7. Jason Arentz & Frederic Sautet & Virgil Storr, 2013. "Prior-knowledge and opportunity identification," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 461-478, August.
  8. Bicchieri, Cristina & Erte, Xiao, 2007. "Do the right thing: But only if others do so," MPRA Paper 4609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. David M. Bruner & John R. Boyce, 2013. "Voluntary Contributions to Property Rights," Working Papers 13-14, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  10. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2011. "Price discovery and intermediation in linked emissions trading markets: A laboratory study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(7), pages 1424-1433, May.
  11. Kimbrough, Erik O., 2011. "Heuristic learning and the discovery of specialization and exchange," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 491-511, April.
  12. James Konow & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Kenju Akai, 2008. "Morals and Mores? Experimental Evidence on Equity and Equality from the US and Japan," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002055, David K. Levine.
  13. Erik O. Kimbrough & Bart J. Wilson, 2012. "Insiders, outsiders, and the adaptability of informal rules to ecological shocks," Discussion Papers dp12-20, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  14. Fonseca, Miguel A. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2012. "Explicit vs. tacit collusion—The impact of communication in oligopoly experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1759-1772.
  15. Adam C. Smith & David B. Skarbek & Bart J. Wilson, 2009. "Anarchy, Groups, and Conflict: An Experiment on the Emergence of Protective Associations," Working Papers 09-03, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  16. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao, 2011. "Classification of natural language messages using a coordination game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-14, March.
  17. Kimbrough, Erik O. & Smith, Vernon L. & Wilson, Bart J., 2010. "Exchange, theft, and the social formation of property," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 206-229, June.

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