The political economy of property rights: institutions, interests, and economic prosperity
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] An influential literature argues that strong property rights are at the core of modern economic prosperity. Theoretically, property rights reduce the transaction costs of economic exchange and create incentives for innovation and investment. Empirically, there is considerable evidence that strong property rights lead to higher per capita incomes and faster rates of economic growth. But what determines property rights in the first place? Surprisingly, there is little research exploring this important question. My study fills this gap by using political factors to explain why property rights vary cross-nationally. Core chapters demonstrate how political institutions, including the constraints of democracy and checks and balances, enhance the security of property rights. Political interests, such as the poor majority's desire for redistribution and the calculus political elites use to prolong their power, also shape property rights. Considered in total, the project creates an important framework for understanding the relationship between politics and economic performance.
Access is limited to the campuses of the University of Missouri.