Department of Economics
West Virginia University
1601 University Ave PO Box 6025
Morgantown WV 26506-6025
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|November 2010||Property Rights and Financial Development: The Legacy of Japanese Colonial Institutions|
with Richard H. Steckel: w16551
Several studies link modern economic performance to institutions transplanted by European colonizers and here we extend this line of research to Asia. Japan imposed its system of well-defined property rights in land on some of its Asian colonies, including Korea, Taiwan and Palau. In 1939 Japan began to survey and register private land in its island colonies, an effort that was completed in Palau but interrupted elsewhere by World War II. Within Micronesia robust economic development followed only in Palau where individual property rights were well defined. Second, we show that well-defined property rights in Korea and Taiwan secured land taxation and enabled farmers to obtain bank loans for capital improvements, principally irrigation systems. Our analytical model predicts that high...