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Economic and cultural factors and illegal copying in the university textbook market


  • Antonello E. Scorcu

    () (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy)

  • Laura Vici

    () (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy)


The role of economic factors, such as family income, the price of illegal reproductions of books, the enforcement rules and the expected penalties are considered the main determinants of the possible infringements of the copyright law. However, the comparison between individual economic gains and losses offers only a partial explanation, as also cultural individual habits and peer effects exert important influences. Using a unique dataset based on a survey conducted at the University of Bologna, Italy, this paper analyses empirically the relevance of socio-economic as well as cultural determinants in the decision process of using illegal copies of university textbooks. From a policy perspective, the analysis suggests that an effective enforcement of the copyright rules should take into account the cultural behavior and students'€™ learning practices.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonello E. Scorcu & Laura Vici, 2013. "Economic and cultural factors and illegal copying in the university textbook market," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-01-2013, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Feb 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:cue:wpaper:awp-01-2013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schwerdt, Guido & Wuppermann, Amelie C., 2011. "Is traditional teaching really all that bad? A within-student between-subject approach," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 365-379, April.
    2. Liu, Liqun & Neilson, William S., 2011. "High scores but low skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 507-516, June.
    3. Ruth Towse, 2006. "Copyright And Artists: A View From Cultural Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 567-585, September.
    4. Tramonte, Lucia & Willms, J. Douglas, 2010. "Cultural capital and its effects on education outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 200-213, April.
    5. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    6. Ruth Towse, 2008. "Why has cultural economics ignored copyright?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 32(4), pages 243-259, December.
    7. Michele Boldrin & David Levine, 2002. "The Case Against Intellectual Property," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 209-212, May.
    8. Liebowitz, S J, 1985. "Copying and Indirect Appropriability: Photocopying of Journals," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 945-957, October.
    9. Hal R. Varian, 2005. "Copying and Copyright," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 121-138, Spring.
    10. Müller-Langer, Frank & Watt, Richard, 2010. "Copyright and Open Access for Academic Works," MPRA Paper 24095, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2011. "Frequency of examinations and student achievement in a randomized experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1416-1429.
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    More about this item


    Copyright; textbooks; illegal copying;

    JEL classification:

    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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