The Economics of Property Laws

1 Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law 1-34, 2013

45 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2016 Last revised: 23 Feb 2016

See all articles by Adam Wallwork

Adam Wallwork

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP (New York)

Date Written: September 5, 2013


This Article addresses the question of whether cultural property laws, which require archaeological artifacts to remain in countries of origin, have been a boon for nations with extensive archaeological records, as most archaeologists and lawmakers presume, or have hampered archaeological excavation by limiting source countries’ freedom to enter into artifact-sharing agreements, as economists would predict. The Article provides the first statistical analysis of cultural property laws’ effect on archaeological discoveries by comparing the number of World Heritage Sites discovered before and after the enactment of cultural property laws in 90 countries with at least one archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It concludes that such laws cause a statistically significant diminution in the number of archaeological discoveries in countries that enact such laws.

Keywords: Law, Economics, Art, Society, Cultural Property Law, Art Law, Archaeology, Patrimony, International Law, Comparative Law, Arts and Entertainment, Law and Statistics, Legal Empirical Studies, International Trade Law

JEL Classification: K00, K11, K12, K19, K33, K34, C40, C42, C44

Suggested Citation

Wallwork, Adam, The Economics of Property Laws (September 5, 2013). 1 Indonesian Journal of International and Comparative Law 1-34, 2013. Available at SSRN:

Adam Wallwork (Contact Author)

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