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The Development of Property Rights on Frontiers: Endowments, Norms, and Politics

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  • ALSTON, LEE J.
  • HARRIS, EDWYNA
  • MUELLER, BERNARDO

Abstract

How do property rights evolve when unoccupied areas attract economic use? Who are the first claimants on the frontier and how do they establish their property rights? When do governments provide de jure property rights? We present a conceptual framework that addresses these questions and apply it to the frontiers of Australia, the United States, and Brazil. Our framework stresses the crucial role of politics as frontiers develop by identifying situations where the competition for land by those with de facto rights and those with de jure rights leads to violence or potential conflicts.

Suggested Citation

  • Alston, Lee J. & Harris, Edwyna & Mueller, Bernardo, 2012. "The Development of Property Rights on Frontiers: Endowments, Norms, and Politics," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(03), pages 741-770, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:72:y:2012:i:03:p:741-770_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Kazianga, Harounan & Masters, William A. & McMillan, Margaret S., 2014. "Disease control, demographic change and institutional development in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 313-326.
    2. Jérémie Gignoux & Karen Macours & Liam Wren-Lewis, 2014. "Impact of land administration programs on agricultural productivity and rural development: existing evidence, challenges and new approaches," PSE Working Papers halshs-00992873, HAL.
    3. Steven M. Smith, 2016. "Common Property Resources and New Entrants: Uncovering the Bias and Effects of New Users," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-36.
    4. Jérémie Gignoux & Karen Macours & Liam Wren-Lewis, 2014. "Impact of land administration programs on agricultural productivity and rural development: existing evidence, challenges and new approaches," Working Papers halshs-00992873, HAL.
    5. Dongwoo Yoo & Edwyna Harris, 2016. "Conditions of Successful Land Reform: A Study of Micronesia," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 56(3), pages 292-316, November.
    6. Gary D. Libecap, 2018. "Property Rights to Frontier Land and Minerals: US Exceptionalism," NBER Working Papers 24544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dye, Alan & La Croix, Sumner, 2013. "The Political Economy of Land Privatization in Argentina and Australia, 1810–1850: A Puzzle," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(04), pages 901-936, December.

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