February 28, 2010
USA vs. Canada: Property Rights
Watching the big Olympic Gold Medal game today? While the eyes of North America will be on the hockey game, this Western Standard article compares the two contries in another area: Canada beats the U.S. (in protection of property rights, not hockey).
The article discusses the recently-released 2010 International Property Rights Index. The report is produced by the DC-based Property Rights Alliance (with support from the Institute for Liberty and Democracy and Hernando de Soto). According to the press release of the Canada-based Frontier Centre for Public Policy, the report compares compares countries around the world on ten factors in three subject areas:
- The legal and political environment (as it relates to judicial independence, rule of law, political stability and degree of corruption);
- Physical property rights (protection of physical property rights, ease of registration of property, and access to loans);
- Intellectual property rights (protection of intellectual property rights, patent protection, and copyright policy)
According to the report, Scandivian property rights rock. The top 5: Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, and Norway-Switzerland-New Zealand (tie). Canada is tied with Germany and Ireland at #12, and the U.S. is at #15. I'm not familiar with the report so I can't comment on the rankings or any potential methodological issues. But to keep the focus on Canada for today, the Frontier Centre's press release includes this interesting commentary:
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Thanks for this interesting post. Of course, as you note, the real interesting stuff is in the methodology. What I find initially surprising is that Scandinavian countries rank so highly. I would have expected property to be heavily regulated in those countries, and therefore, in the eyes of some property rights advocates, not well protected.
Posted by: Tim Iglesias | Mar 1, 2010 9:19:14 AM
I had the same reaction--don't we always hear about how the Scandanavian countries are quasi-socialist? Perhaps they score well on the measures in the study because of their relative affluence, homogeneity, and manageable growth. Very interesting, though.
Posted by: Matt Festa | Mar 2, 2010 9:30:48 PM
Or maybe the high ranking just shows a methodological flaw--yes, Scandinavia has always favoured "functional socialism" which permits a high degree of regulation along with a high degree of private property ownership. Is there an apples and oranges comparison going onhere?
Posted by: mark Crawford | Apr 29, 2010 8:32:07 AM