Wednesday, July 11, 10 a.m.
Rasmuson Hall, Room 303
On Wednesday, July 11, UAA’s College of Business and Public Policy will present guest speaker Peter DeScioli. DeScioli’s lecture is titled “Function and variation in human property rules” and will cover the findings of a recent experiment.
About the experiment:
Humans use property conventions to resolve resource disputes and alternative rules of ownership can come into conflict. We test the theory that the human sense of ownership is a strategy for reducing the costs of disputes over resources.
We designed a virtual environment where participants, acting as avatars, could forage and fight for electronic food items (convertible to cash). In two experimental conditions, resources were distributed uniformly or clustered in patches. In the patchy condition, we observed an ownership convention–the avatar that arrives first is more likely to win–but in the uniform condition, where costly fights are rare, the ownership convention is absent.
Next, we investigate the potential for rivalry among alternative ownership conventions. We report studies examining people’s judgments about classic property law cases that involve disputes over found objects between finders and landowners. The results show that ownership judgments are sensitive to the location of finding, whether the location is public or private space and whether the finder and landowner have a contractual relationship.
For more information on Peter DeScioli, visit his website. For more information on his upcoming presentation at UAA, visit the College of Business and Public Policy website.