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Are property rights enough?

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  • Barbara G. Katz
  • Joel Owen

Abstract

We investigate the claim made by proponents of the big-bang strategy that the establishment of property rights in an economy in transition creates its own demand for the enforcement of laws to protect those rights. Our model contains a government engaging in activities to accomplish objectives that depend on public support for the enforcement of the rule of law and agents who interpret the level of activities of the government as indications of the government's intent to enforce the rule of law. Agents, using the level of government activities as an input to their decisions, choose whether to support the government's objectives. We establish conditions under which the level of activities chosen by the government maximizes its benefits, and simultaneously induces the constituency to support enforcement of the rule of law. These conditions provide a basis for the argument for the implementation of the big-bang policy. When these conditions do not hold, however, we show that the level of activities that maximizes the government's benefits may have only a minor impact on support for the enforcement of the rule of law. Two characteristics play an important role in these conditions: the initial level of crime and the types of activities the government chooses to undertake. We present examples showing that the initial level of crime has the more dramatic effect on subsequent support for the rule of law. Copyright (c) 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2009 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in its journal Economics of Transition.

Volume (Year): 17 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 75-96

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Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:17:y:2009:i:1:p:75-96

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References

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  1. Konstantin Sonin, 2002. "Why the Rich May Favor Poor Protection of Property Rights," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 544, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1840, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. J. David Brown & John S. Earle & Almos Telegdy, 2005. "The Productivity Effects of Privatization: Longitudinal Estimates from Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 05-121, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
  5. Dewatripont, Mathias & Roland, Gerard, 1995. "The Design of Reform Packages under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1207-23, December.
  6. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2002. "Institutions and the resource curse," GE, Growth, Math methods 0210004, EconWPA.
  8. Karla Hoff & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "After the Big Bang? Obstacles to the Emergence of the Rule of Law in Post-Communist Societies," NBER Working Papers 9282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bevan, Alan A. & Estrin, Saul, 2004. "The determinants of foreign direct investment into European transition economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 775-787, December.
  10. Katz, Barbara G. & Owen, Joel, 2000. "Choosing between Big-Bang and Gradualist Reforms: An Option Price Approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 95-107, March.
  11. Alexeev, Michael & Janeba, Eckhard & Osborne, Stefan, 2004. "Taxation and evasion in the presence of extortion by organized crime," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 375-387, September.
  12. Katz Barbara G. & Owen Joel, 1993. "Privatization: Choosing the Optimal Time Path," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 715-736, December.
  13. Djankov, Simeon & Murrell, Peter, 2002. "Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: A Quantitative Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 3319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2003. "Disease and Development in Historical Perspective," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 397-405, 04/05.
  15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2003. "Unbundling Institutions," NBER Working Papers 9934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Sergei Guriev & Andrei Rachinsky, 2005. "The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 131-150, Winter.
  17. Kim, Byung-Yeon & Pirttila, Jukka, 2006. "Political constraints and economic reform: Empirical evidence from the post-communist transition in the 1990s," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 446-466, September.
  18. Leonid Polishchuk & Alexei Savvateev, 2004. "Spontaneous (non)emergence of property rights," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 12(1), pages 103-127, 03.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Barbara G. Katz & Joel Owen, 2011. "The Crime of Tax Evasion in Transition Economies," Working Papers 11-04, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Barbara G. Katz, 2009. "Crime and Uncertain Punishment in Transition Economies," Working Papers 09-12, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  3. Barbara G. Katz & Joel Owen, 2012. "Exploring Tax Evasion in the Context of Political Uncertainty," Working Papers 12-21, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.

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