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Why buy when we can pirate? The role of intentions and willingness to pay in predicting piracy behavior


  • Mahalia Jackman
  • Troy Lorde


Purpose - – Digital piracy is one of the most popular forms of intellectual property theft and is currently recognized as a crime in several countries. This begs the question, if persons are fully informed that digital file sharing is a crime and, if caught, can be legally prosecuted, why do individuals opt to engage in such criminal behaviour? The purpose of the paper is to determine the psychological, social and economic factors influencing digital piracy. Understanding the social and psychological features of digital pirates is necessary if effected strategies are to be developed to deter the practice of digital piracy. Design/methodology/approach - – In this paper, a representative sample drawn from the population of Barbados was surveyed. The conceptual models were estimated using ordinary least squares multiple regression, Tobit estimation and quantile regression. Findings - – The results suggest that intentions and willingness to pay (WTP) both have a significant impact on digital piracy. Intentions are in turn influenced by the pirate's attitude, perceived consequences, ethics, education level and environment. Finally, a facilitating environment and perceived importance of the piracy issue help to predict’ WTP for digital products. Originality/value - – To the best of the knowledge, no other study has combined notions from attitude/values/behaviour with that of WTP. Yet, the literature would suggest that they both have significant impacts on the quantity of digital goods that are pirated. It is possible that not modelling their joint impact could have resulted in loss of vital information.

Suggested Citation

  • Mahalia Jackman & Troy Lorde, 2014. "Why buy when we can pirate? The role of intentions and willingness to pay in predicting piracy behavior," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 41(9), pages 801-819, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:41:y:2014:i:9:p:801-819

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    Cited by:

    1. Rafi M. M. I. Chowdhury, 2019. "The Moral Foundations of Consumer Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 585-601, September.
    2. Victor Champonnois & Olivier Chanel, 2016. "How useful are (Censored) Quantile Regressions for Contingent Valuation?," Working Papers 2016.12, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

    More about this item


    Crime; Social economy; Digital piracy; Barbados;


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