Friday, May 30, 2014

Mattingly on How Political Structures Affect Property Rights

Daniel Mattingly (Berkeley - Ph.D.) has posted The Perils of Power-Sharing: How Representative Institutions Can Weaken the Rule of Law and Property Protections on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

What limits the power of the state to confiscate wealth? One widely-held view is that the most effective way to strengthen property protections is to introduce "inclusive institutions." However, I argue that formal power-sharing institutions can be used by political leaders as a tool to incorporate influential social elites into the state, strengthening rulers' control over society and weakening property protections. Using evidence from surveys and experiments, I show that when kinship group elites are incorporated into village governments in China it triples the likelihood of land expropriations. While land requisitions in China often benefit villagers, the political co-optation of local elites allows the state to elicit villagers' compliance with expropriations that have negative consequences. These findings suggest that the power of social connections to hold officials accountable in an authoritarian state is limited, and reinforce other work showing that informal institutions can be biased in favor of elites.

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The Roman leader Sulla had some ideas about this. He used to list the names of people whose property could be taken away from them. Proscription I think it was called. Lucky Sulla he was called.

Posted by: john rooney | May 31, 2014 2:42:10 AM

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