Do Courts Matter? Rental Markets and the Law
Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business; University of Oxford - Department of Economics; Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
November 28, 2005
We argue that the allocation of ownership rights will minimize enforcement costs when the legal system is inefficient. In particular, when legal enforcement is costly, there will be a shift from contractual arrangements that rely on such enforcement (such as a rental agreement) towards other forms that do not (such as direct ownership). We then test this prediction on data on the rental housing market, and show that costly enforcement of rental contracts hampers the development of such a market in a cross-section of countries. We argue that this association is not the result of reverse causation from a developed rental market to more investor-protective enforcement. The results provide supportive evidence on the importance of contract enforcement for the development of financial and other markets.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: contract enforcement, market development, housing rental markets
JEL Classification: K41, L14, R31, J41
Date posted: December 1, 2005
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