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Go West Young Man: Self-Selection and Endogenous Property Rights

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  • Taylor Jaworski

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210108, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA;)

  • Bart J. Wilson

    ()
    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866, USA; corresponding author)

Abstract

If, as Hume argues, property is a self-referring custom of a group of people, then property rights depend on how that group forms and orders itself. In this article we investigate how people construct a convention for property in an experiment in which groups of self-selected individuals can migrate between three geographically separate regions. To test a hypothesis of Demsetz's, we vary across two treatments the external benefits of migrating. We find that self-selection has a powerful effect on establishing conventions of property and begetting increases in wealth through exchange and specialization. We also find support for the Demsetz hypothesis. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4284/0038-4038-2011.249

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 79 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 886-904

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:79:4:y:2013:p:886-904

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  1. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2004. "The Economic Aftermath of the 1960s Riots in American Cities: Evidence from Property Values," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0410, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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  5. Erik O. Kimbrough & Vernon L. Smith & Bart J. Wilson, 2008. "Historical Property Rights, Sociality, and the Emergence of Impersonal Exchange in Long-Distance Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1009-39, June.
  6. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
  7. Sean Crockett & VernonL. Smith & BartJ. Wilson, 2009. "Exchange and Specialisation as a Discovery Process," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1162-1188, 07.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2005. "Unbundling Institutions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 949-995, October.
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  12. Yvonne Durham & Jack Hirshleifer & Vernon L. Smith, 1997. "Do the Richer get Richer and the Poor Poorer? Experimental Tests of a Model of Power," UCLA Economics Working Papers 770, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Duffy, John & Kim, Minseong, 2005. "Anarchy in the laboratory (and the role of the state)," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 297-329, March.
  14. Daniel Houser & David Reiley & Michael Urbancic, 2004. "Checking Out Temptation: An Natural Experiment with Purchases at the Grocery Register," Working Papers 1001, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Nov 2008.
  15. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
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  17. Skaperdas, S., 1991. "Cooperation, Conflict And Power In The Absence Of Property Rights," Papers 90-91-06a, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
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Cited by:
  1. Joy Buchanan & Bart Wilson, 2014. "An Experiment on Protecting Intellectual Property," Working Papers 1044, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  2. Bart J. Wilson & Taylor Jaworski & Karl E. Schurter & Andrew Smyth, 2012. "The Ecological and Civil Mainsprings of Property: An Experimental Economic History of Whalers' Rules of Capture," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(4), pages 617-656, October.
  3. 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.

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