The Emergence of Strong Property Rights: Speculation from history
NBER Working Paper No. 9478
How did citizens acquire rights protecting their property from the depredations of the government? In this paper, we argue that one important factor strengthening respect for property is how it is distributed. When there is some specificity associated with property, and property is held by those who are most productive, the distribution of property becomes relatively easy to defend. By contrast, when property is owned by those who get rents simply by virtue of ownership, the distribution of property becomes much harder to defend. We speculate on why some countries have been able to develop a climate of respect for property rights while others have not.