Effective Property Rights, Conflict and Growth
Francisco M. Gonzalez
University of Calgary - Economics
November 1, 2007
Journal of Economic Theory, Vol. 137, 2007
This paper shows how the interaction between conflict and growth can give rise to a nonmonotone relationship between property rights and social welfare. This interaction is illustrated in a model of endogenous growth in which equilibrium diversion of resources is the cost of securing effective property rights. A symmetric equilibrium allocation associated with more secure property rights and faster growth can be Pareto dominated by one associated with poorer property rights and slower growth. Faster growth can exacerbate the problem of diversion whenever property rights are sufficiently poor. These results call for caution before a society decides to pursue economic growth independently of the institutional structure of property rights. Furthermore, if this structure is inappropriate piecemeal reform might not be in the interest of society, and a substantial reform might be necessary if it is to be welfare-improving.
Keywords: property rights, conflict, diversion, investment, growth
JEL Classification: D23, O10, O40Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 15, 2009
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