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Enumerating Rights: More is Not Always Better

Author

Listed:
  • Ball, Sheryl

    () (Virginia Tech University)

  • Dave, Chetan

    () (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

  • Dodds, Stefan

    () (University of Winnipeg)

Abstract

Policy debates increasingly employ the language of ‘rights’: how they are assigned and what entitlements individuals in a society are due. In designing present day constitutions for transitional democracies, framers face the issue of whether to formally codify rights or not. We design and implement a novel experiment to test whether social cooperation depends on the assignment of individual rights, by framing the right of subjects to take a particular action either positively or negatively. We find that when rights are framed positively, there exists an ‘entitlement effect’ that reduces social cooperation levels and crowds-out the tendency of individuals to act pro-socially.

Suggested Citation

  • Ball, Sheryl & Dave, Chetan & Dodds, Stefan, 2019. "Enumerating Rights: More is Not Always Better," Working Papers 2019-11, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2019_011
    as

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    File URL: https://sites.ualberta.ca/~econwps/2019/wp2019-11.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1989. "Communication in the Battle of the Sexes Game: Some Experimental Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(4), pages 568-587, Winter.
    2. Don L. Coursey & John L. Hovis & William D. Schulze, 1987. "The Disparity Between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 679-690.
    3. Frechette, Guillaume & Kagel, John H. & Morelli, Massimo, 2005. "Nominal bargaining power, selection protocol, and discounting in legislative bargaining," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1497-1517, August.
    4. Robert Oxoby, 2013. "Paretian dictators: constraining choice in a voluntary contribution game," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 125-138, June.
    5. ABDALLA, A. & COOPER, R. & DEJONG, D. & FORSYTHE, R. & Tom Ross, 1989. "Forward Induction In Coordination And Battle Of The Sexes Games: Some Experimental Results," Carleton Industrial Organization Research Unit (CIORU) 89-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    6. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Constitutional Design; Coase Theorem; Framing; Preferences; Rights; Battle of the Sexes;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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