Property Rights and Development: The Contingent Case for Formalization

87 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2008 Last revised: 15 Apr 2008

See all articles by Michael J. Trebilcock

Michael J. Trebilcock

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Paul-Erik Veel

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

The conventional wisdom among economists and development scholars is that strong formal property rights are a necessary pre-condition for economic growth. By way of a thorough analysis of the theoretical and empirical literature relating to property rights and economic development, this paper questions this wisdom and argues instead for a more nuanced and context-dependent approach to the understanding of the relationship between property rights and development. This first part of this paper argues that in certain cases, the costs of a creating a formal property rights regime outweigh the benefits derived from that regime. The second part argues that property rights regime cannot be viewed as isolated institutions which are independent from other social institutions, but rather that the success of a formal property rights regime is contingent upon the successful operation of a number of other institutions. Finally, the third part examines the process of transition from an informal to a formal property rights regime and argues that the appropriate model for facilitating that transition crucially depends on the reason for the perpetuation of the informal regime.

Suggested Citation

Trebilcock, Michael J. and Veel, Paul-Erik, Property Rights and Development: The Contingent Case for Formalization (April 2008). U Toronto, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1084571 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1084571

Toronto Law Submitter (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

Michael J. Trebilcock

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-5843 (Phone)
416-978-1279 (Fax)

Paul-Erik Veel

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

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