The Politics of Land Property Rights

Forthcoming, Journal of Institutional Economics (2019)

35 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2019

See all articles by Meina Cai

Meina Cai

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ilia Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh

Date Written: May 23, 2019

Abstract

Legal reforms that improve the security of private property rights to land have characteristics of a public good with dispersed benefits. However, nothing ensures that the state will provide property protection as a public good. Some states provide property protection selectively to powerful groups. Others are unable to provide property protection. In this paper, we argue that whether the state provides property protection as a public good, selectively, or cannot establish private property rights depends on the following features of politics: political stability, government capacity to administer and enforce private property rights, constraints on political decision-makers, and the inclusivity of political and legal institutions. We illustrate the theory using evidence from reforms that increased opportunities to privately own land in the US from the late eighteenth through nineteenth centuries, selective enforcement of land property rights in China, and the absence of credible legal rights to land in Afghanistan.

Keywords: Contract Theory of the State, Predatory Theory of the State, Private Property Rights, Political Institutions, Political Constraints, Anarchy, Self-Governance

JEL Classification: B52, H11, P51

Suggested Citation

Cai, Meina and Murtazashvili, Ilia and Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick, The Politics of Land Property Rights (May 23, 2019). Forthcoming, Journal of Institutional Economics (2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3393160 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3393160

Meina Cai

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Ilia Murtazashvili (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260-0001
United States

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

University of Pittsburgh

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