Crime in the mail sector can hamper the development of electronic markets. We use a field experiment to detect crime and measure its differential impacts. We subtly, and realistically, manipulate the content and information available in mail sent to households and detect high levels of shirking and stealing. Eighteen percent of the mail never arrived at its destination, and even more was lost if there was even a slight hint of something additional inside the envelope. Our study demonstrates that privatization has been unable to extricate moral hazard and that crime is strategic and not equally distributed across the population.
Castillo, Marco; Petrie, Ragan; Torero, Maximo; and Viceisza, Angelino, "Lost in the Mail: A Field Experiment on Crime" (2009). ExCEN Working Papers. 91.