Property Rights, Growth, and Conflict

43 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012 Last revised: 27 Feb 2012

See all articles by Terra Lawson-Remer

Terra Lawson-Remer

The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs; United Nations - World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU/WIDER); New York University

Date Written: February 6, 2012

Abstract

Whose property rights are secure and insecure matters fundamentally for the political and economic implications of expropriation risk. Using a new set of indicators that measure the property insecurity of ethno-cultural minority groups, this article demonstrates that property insecurity of ethno-cultural minorities does not reduce long-run growth; that the severity of property insecurity for the worst-off group in a country is strongly related to the onset of armed conflict; and, controlling for civil war, property insecurity for ethno-cultural minorities is actually associated with higher growth rates. Economic growth can occur when the property rights of elites are secure but marginalized minorities face high a risk of expropriation, as land may be reallocated into the hands of investors with skills and access to capital. However, the potentially growth enhancing effect of forced displacement and resettlement is reduced because the property insecurity of minorities also increases the likelihood of armed conflict.

Keywords: property insecurity, conflict, long-run growth

JEL Classification: F00

Suggested Citation

Lawson-Remer, Terra, Property Rights, Growth, and Conflict (February 6, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2000036 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2000036

Terra Lawson-Remer (Contact Author)

The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs ( email )

66 W. 12th Street
New York, NY 10011
United States

United Nations - World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU/WIDER) ( email )

Katajanokanlaituri 6B
Helsinki, FIN-00160
Finland

New York University ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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