How do education and ‘modernization’ affect respect for property rights?

Evidence from a lab experiment in Kenya:

we provide evidence that academic achievement, as measured by the improvement in test scores induced by a primary school assistance program, alters individual values, speci cally moral norms governing the appropriation of others’ income, as measured in an economic experiment.

That is Pam Jakiela, Ted Miguel and Vera te Velde writing here.

2 thoughts on “How do education and ‘modernization’ affect respect for property rights?

  1. The term “property rights” encompasses so much more than “earned income” that using the two terms interchangeably seems to be very problematic. This distinction seems particularly important as the experiment discusses moral norms. People have very different moral relationships with different kinds of property (shared any music lately?) and, really, all property regimes are expressions of complex moral biases. Therefore a finding about moral perceptions relating one kind of property does not necessarily say much, if anything, about moral perceptions relating to other kinds of property. The study makes this distinction clearly. Much can be said about the study’s finding on its own terms without suggesting that it demonstrates more than it attempts to demonstrate — its relevance for the prevalence of corruption would be interesting, for example. Using the much broader term “property rights” loosely seems to be inviting poor analysis.