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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:79:4:y:2013:p:886-904
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.4284/0038-4038-2011.249
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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, July.
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    12. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2007. "The Economic Aftermath of the 1960s Riots in American Cities: Evidence from Property Values," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(04), pages 849-883, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Joy Buchanan & Bart Wilson, 2014. "An experiment on protecting intellectual property," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(4), pages 691-716, December.
    2. Marco Faillo & Matteo Rizzolli & Stephan Tontrup, 2016. "Thou shalt not steal (from hard-working people)An experiment on respect for property claims," Econometica Working Papers wp58, Econometica.
    3. 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.
    4. David M. Bruner & John R. Boyce, 2013. "Voluntary Contributions to Property Rights," Working Papers 13-14, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    5. Kimbrough, Erik O. & Wilson, Bart J., 2013. "Insiders, outsiders, and the adaptability of informal rules to ecological shocks," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 29-40.
    6. Bart Wilson, 2015. "Further towards a theory of the emergence of property," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(1), pages 201-222, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General

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