An Experiment on Property Rights and In-group vs. Out-group Taking Aversion
Last registered on January 21, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
An Experiment on Property Rights and In-group vs. Out-group Taking Aversion
Initial registration date
January 19, 2020
Last updated
January 21, 2020 2:00 PM EST

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Primary Investigator
University Pompeu Fabra Barcelona
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
LUMSA University
PI Affiliation
Columbia University
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
A well functioning system of property rights is a key component of the rule of law and ultimately of development. An important trend in development policies has emphasized the need to establish formalized property rights of land (De Soto, 2000, Sjaastad and Cousins, 2009). However, a well-functioning property rights' system is built both on formal and efficient public institutions that guarantee top-down public enforcement as well as on the bottom-up emergence of coordination on the Hume's property convention where people find it privately convenient to respect each others entitlements (Sugden, 1989, Fabbri et al., 2019). An effective property system thus blends third-party enforcement of formal titles with second-party enforcement, (social norms whereby owners are willing to fight to defend and enforce their entitlements) and first-party enforcement (social norms suggesting non-owners to resist taking). The interplay between the formalization of of property rights and the development of social norms that favour the respect of others' entitlements is the subject of the present research project. Indeed there is a growing experimental literature showing how the respect for others' entitlements emerges in the lab where no second or third party enforcement is possible and this preference/norm has been labelled ``taking aversion" (Korenok et al., 2018, Faillo et al., 2019). In this project, we study whether an institutional reform formalizing land's rights carried out ten years before influenced individuals' willingness to respect others' property. A previous study by Fabbri and Dari-Mattiacci (2019) indeed shows that formalizing property rights does increase the propensity to respect each others' property however it is not clear whether this behavior spans beyond the boundaries of the small community. This is why the main experimental manipulation in our follow-up experiment concerns whether the property rights to be taken belong to either i) members of the same close-knit community or ii) individuals from a different unknown village.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe , Marco Fabbri and Matteo Rizzolli. 2020. "An Experiment on Property Rights and In-group vs. Out-group Taking Aversion." AEA RCT Registry. January 21.
Experimental Details
See attached pre-analysis plan
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Taking rate when matched within village vs taking rate when matched outside the village.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
See attached pre-analysis plan
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
See attached pre-analysis plan
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
See attached pre-analysis plan
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We set up a modified Dictator game with taking that subjects play with a partner from the same village and with a partner from a different village. We combine this game with the implementation of a property rights reform over land. See attached pre-analysis plan for details.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
In office by computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See attached pre-analysis plan
IRB Name
Ethics Commitee - Parc de Salut MAR
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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