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Why is online piracy ethically different from theft? A vignette experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Wojciech Hardy

    () (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)

  • Michał Krawczyk

    () (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)

  • Joanna Tyrowicz

    () (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw; National Bank of Poland)

Abstract

This study employs a vignette experiment to inquire, which features of online “piracy” make it ethically discernible from a traditional theft. This question is pertinent since the social norm concerning traditional theft is starkly different from the evidence on ethical evaluation of online “piracy”. We specifically distinguish between contextual features of theft, such as for example the physical loss of an item, breach of protection, availability of alternatives, emotional proximity to the victim of theft, etc. We find that some of these dimensions have more weight in ethical judgment, but there are no clear differences between online and traditional theft which could explain discrepancy in the frequency of commitment.

Suggested Citation

  • Wojciech Hardy & Michał Krawczyk & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2013. "Why is online piracy ethically different from theft? A vignette experiment," Working Papers 2013-24, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
  • Handle: RePEc:war:wpaper:2013-24
    as

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    File URL: http://www.wne.uw.edu.pl/inf/wyd/WP/WNE_WP109.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
    2. Tim Goles & Bandula Jayatilaka & Beena George & Linda Parsons & Valrie Chambers & David Taylor & Rebecca Brune, 2008. "Softlifting: Exploring Determinants of Attitude," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 481-499, February.
    3. Kirsten Robertson & Lisa McNeill & James Green & Claire Roberts, 2012. "Illegal Downloading, Ethical Concern, and Illegal Behavior," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 108(2), pages 215-227, June.
    4. Charles Hill, 2007. "Digital piracy: Causes, consequences, and strategic responses," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 9-25, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Krawczyk, Michał & Tyrowicz, Joanna & Kukla-Gryz, Anna & Hardy, Wojciech, 2015. "“Piracy is not theft!” Is it just students who think so?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 32-39.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    vignette experiment; illegal downloading; digital piracy; illegal download; downloading behaviour; P2P network;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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