A recent paper by Sendhil Mullainathan  looks at development economics through the lens of psychology. On property rights he says:
"Loss aversion reinforces the importance of well-enforced property rights. Consider a situation where there is a single good, such as a piece of land L. Suppose that there are two individuals A and B who can engage in force to acquire or protect the land and that engaging in violence may result in acquisition. In the presence of well-defined property rights (say this land belongs to person A), the decision to engage in force is straightforward. If B engages in force he stands to gain v(L) if his force is successful. A on the other hand stands to lose v(-L) if he doesn’t engage in force. In this case, loss aversion implies that A stands to lose a lot more than B could gain. So with well-defined property rights A would engage in more force than B. Consequently, B may never attempt force. So even in the absence of enforcement, loss aversion may mean that well-defined property rights may deter violence."
He admits this is a modest effort not pretending at comprehensiveness, but rather a small introduction to an area of study that might deserve additional attention. He plants the paper as a challenge to the unemotional world of economics -one which he claims ignores the bounds on choices- and tries to emphasize the richness of behavior that arises from scarcity.
A shorter and less technical version of this paper was discussed at the 2005 Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE ) in Amsterdam, and was published in the resulting “Lessons From Experience ” collection.