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When the Cat's Away, the Mice Will Play: Gambling Behaviour of Visitors in Australia

Author

Listed:
  • Bin Dong

    () (QUT)

  • Benno Torgler

    () (QUT)

Abstract

What happens if national legal laws or enforcements and social norms are no longer able to directly regulate individual behaviour? According to our knowledge, not much empirical evidence has emerged answering such a seemingly simple question. The challenge is to distinguish between the effects of social norm and of legal enforcement. One way to explore such a question in an almost natural quasi-experimental setting is to focus on tourists’ behaviour. Tourists are visiting another country for a relatively short period of time and are acting in a different (legal) environment where formal and informal rules are different to those found in their own country. Using data from Australia we focus on gambling activities since these are prohibited in some countries. We find that tourists from countries where gambling is prohibited spend a significantly larger share of their entertainment expenditure on gambling than those who come from countries where gambling is legalized. Thus, gambling increases (“mice play†) without legal enforcement (“when the cat is away†). It is also noteworthy that there seems to be a lack of internalized social norms that would prevent tourists from partaking in these gambling activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Bin Dong & Benno Torgler, 2010. "When the Cat's Away, the Mice Will Play: Gambling Behaviour of Visitors in Australia," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 255, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:255
    as

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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2010/WP255.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    3. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
    4. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
    5. Posner, Richard A, 1997. "Social Norms and the Law: An Economic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 365-369, May.
    6. Torgler, Benno, 2006. "The importance of faith: Tax morale and religiosity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 81-109, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gambling; legal enforcement; social norms;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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