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Explaining Digital Piracy: A Meta-Analysis

Martin Eisend ()
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Martin Eisend: European University Viadrina, 15230 Frankfurt (Oder), Germany

Information Systems Research, 2019, vol. 30, issue 2, 636-664

Abstract: Many studies have investigated why users engage in digital piracy. The theoretical explanations are particularistic, and the empirical findings are fragmented, sometimes divergent, and reveal unexplained variations of effects. Managers and academics have thus had little guidance on how to explain and combat digital piracy. To help fill this gap, the present meta-analysis synthesizes past research on digital piracy and accumulates 1,373 effect sizes from 174 studies collected in 36 countries. The meta-analysis identifies the key drivers of users’ engagement in digital piracy and tests a new, comprehensive model that integrates all prior theoretical perspectives—social influence and control, outcome evaluation, dilemma solving, and reinforcement. The model explains 42%–53% of the variance in digital piracy attitudes, intentions, and behaviors and identifies the reinforcement perspective as the strongest theory. A moderator analysis shows that the influence of key drivers varies with cultural dimensions linked to the theoretical perspectives—individualism moderates social influence and control variables, masculinity moderates dilemma-solving variables, and uncertainty avoidance moderates reinforcement variables. These findings provide guidance for future digital piracy research and also have managerial implications in terms of possible revisions to antipiracy measures.The online appendix is available at https://doi.org/10.1287/isre.2018.0821 .

Keywords: digital piracy; culture; social influence and control; outcome evaluation; dilemma solving; reinforcement; meta-analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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