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Economics

Vanderbilt University Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Law, Biology, And Property: A New Theory Of The Endowment Effect, Owen D. Jones, Sarah F. Brosnan Jan 2008

Law, Biology, And Property: A New Theory Of The Endowment Effect, Owen D. Jones, Sarah F. Brosnan

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Recent work at the intersection of law and behavioral biology has suggested numerous contexts in which legal thinking could benefit by integrating knowledge from behavioral biology. In one of those contexts, behavioral biology may help to provide theoretical foundation for, and potentially increased predictive power concerning, various psychological traits relevant to law. This Article describes an experiment that explores that context.

The paradoxical psychological bias known as the endowment effect puzzles economists, skews market behavior, impedes efficient exchange of goods and rights, and thereby poses important problems for law. Although the effect is known to vary widely, there are at ...


Endowment Effects In Chimpanzees, Owen D. Jones, Sarah F. Brosnan, Susan P. Lambeth, Mary Catherine Mareno, Amanda S. Richardson, Steven Schapiro Jan 2007

Endowment Effects In Chimpanzees, Owen D. Jones, Sarah F. Brosnan, Susan P. Lambeth, Mary Catherine Mareno, Amanda S. Richardson, Steven Schapiro

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Human behavior is not always consistent with standard rational choice predictions. The much-investigated variety of apparent deviations from rational choice predictions provides a promising arena for the merger of economics and biology. Although little is known about the extent to which other species also exhibit these seemingly irrational patterns of human decision-making and choice behavior, similarities across species would suggest a common evolutionary root to the phenomena.

The present study investigated whether chimpanzees exhibit an endowment effect, a seemingly paradoxical behavior in which humans tend to value a good they have just come to possess more than they would have ...