An analysis of the impact of economic wealth and national culture on the rise and fall of software piracy rates

Journal of Business Ethics 81 (1):39 - 51 (2008)
A number of studies have investigated and found a significant relationship among economic wealth, Hofstede’s national culture dimensions, and software piracy rates (SPR). No study, however, has examined the relationship between economic wealth, culture, and the fact that national SPRs have been declining steadily since 1994. Using a larger sample than has previously been available (57 countries), we confirm the expected negative relationship between economic wealth, culture (individualism and masculinity) and levels of software piracy. The rate of decline in software piracy, however, is found to be a cultural phenomenon, with two factors (power distance (PDI) and uncertainty avoidance (UAI)) working in opposition. Similar results are found for a subset of 37 relatively poor countries. This suggests that, while the rise in economic wealth seen for most countries should lead to a reduction in software piracy, the rate of decline is determined by cultural factors. Global strategies for dealing with software piracy are discussed.
Keywords ethics  economic wealth  intellectual property rights  national culture  software piracy
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