Post-Disaster Reconfiguration of Property Rights: The Case of Wenchuan Earthquake
15 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2008
Date Written: August 29, 2008
This paper draws on the ongoing reconstruction in Wenchuan Earthquake areas and studies how a new world of private property rights affects post-disaster reconstruction. In addition to analyzing particular problems related to rural housing, urban housing and housing finance, I argue that homeowners association may not be an efficient vehicle for post-disaster reconstruction. Canceling remaining mortgage loans is not fair to all people. I also discuss three general themes related to post-disaster property rights. First, post-disaster reconfiguration may be an important opportunity for major changes of property rights regime, including the decline of informal or communal property rights. Second, reconstruction approach is path dependent and the one based on liability rules, such as eminent domain, may be better able to mitigate the tragedy of anti-commons. Third, the well known safe development paradox may also have a property rights dimension.
Keywords: property rights, earthquake, disaster, housing, reconstruction
JEL Classification: D71, P14, Q15, R52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation