Mine and Thine: The Territorial Foundations of Human Property
AbstractResearch shows that many animal species have morphological and cognitive adaptations for fighting with others to gain resources, but it remains unclear how humans make fighting decisions. Non-human animals often adaptively calibrate fighting behavior to ecological variables such as resource quantity and whether the resource is distributed uniformly or clustered in patches. Also, many species use strategies to reduce fighting costs such as resolving disputes based on power asymmetries or conventions. Here we show that humans apply an ownership convention in response to the problem of severe fighting. We designed a virtual environment where ten participants, acting as avatars, could forage and fight for electronic food items (convertible to cash). In the patchy condition, we observed an ownership convention—the avatar who arrives first is more likely to win—but in the uniform condition, where severe fighting is rare, the ownership convention is absent.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 10-11.
Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-06-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2010-06-11 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2010-06-11 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-NEU-2010-06-11 (Neuroeconomics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Matthew J. Baker, 2003. "An Equilibrium Conflict Model of Land Tenure in Hunter-Gatherer Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 124-173, February.
- Alchian, Armen A. & Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "The Property Right Paradigm," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 16-27, March.
- Gintis, Herbert, 2007. "The evolution of private property," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-16, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Megan Luetje).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.