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Credible Commitment and Property Rights: Evidence from Russia




Few dispute that secure property rights are critical to economic development. But if secure property rights are so beneficial, then why are they so rare? More precisely, what factors promote secure property rights? Do rightholders view private or state agents as a greater threat to property? Do they value bureaucratic commitment or discretion? I use evidence from two original surveys of company managers in Russia to assess the institutional, social, and political determinants of secure property rights. Most managers said that state arbitration courts did not work badly in disputes with other businesses, but few expected these courts to protect their rights in disputes with state officials. More importantly, managers who expressed confidence that state arbitration courts could constrain state officials invested at higher rates, even controlling for the perceived effectiveness of state institutions. Ironically, increasing constraints on state agents can increase the security of property and bolster state capacity. These results generate insights into debates on the role of state in the economy, the origins of secure property rights, the nature of state capacity, the importance of informal institutions, and the process of legal reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Frye, Timothy, 2004. "Credible Commitment and Property Rights: Evidence from Russia," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 453-466, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:03:p:453-466_00

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    Cited by:

    1. Goriaev, Alexei & Zabotkin, Alexei, 2006. "Risks of investing in the Russian stock market: Lessons of the first decade," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 380-397, December.
    2. I. S. Kukaev, 2015. "Analysis of institutional preferences in the cooperative interactions for the development of industrial enterprises," Russian Journal of Industrial Economics, MISiS.
    3. Peter J. Boettke & Rosolino A. Candela, 2020. "Productive specialization, peaceful cooperation and the problem of the predatory state: lessons from comparative historical political economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 182(3), pages 331-352, March.
    4. Iwasaki, Ichiro, 2013. "Global Financial Crisis, Corporate Governance, and Firm Survival: The Russian Experience," RRC Working Paper Series 37_v2, Russian Research Center, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. Stephen Weymouth & J. Lawrence Broz, 2013. "Government Partisanship and Property Rights: Cross-Country Firm-Level Evidence," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 229-256, July.

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