Does Might Make Right? An Experiment on Assigning Property Rights

Hans J. Czap, Natalia V. Czap, Mark E. Burbach, Gary D. Lynne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the role of property rights in environmental decisions and choices regarding the distribution of income in a downstream water pollution problem. The results confirm that who owns the property rights is a significant determinant of these decisions. More specifically, under certain conditions a property rights owner who suffers the consequences of negative externalities acts, on average, more environmentally friendly than a property rights owner who causes such negative externality. Similarly, when it comes to the distribution of income, the property rights owners who cause negative externalities allocate on average a larger share of the income to themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-240
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Economics
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • environmental experiment
  • negative externality
  • property rights
  • water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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