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Land inheritance rules: theory and cross-cultural analysis

  • Baker, Matthew
  • Miceli, Thomas J.

This paper develops a general theory of land inheritance rules. We distinguish between two classes of rules: those that allow a testator discretion in disposing of his land (like a best-qualified rule), and those that constrain his choice (like primogeniture). The primary benefit of the latter is to prevent rent seeking by heirs, but the cost is that testators cannot make use of information about the relative abilities of his heirs to manage the land. We also account for the impact of scale economies in land use. We conclude by offering some empirical tests of the model using a cross-cultural sample of societies.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8F-4D04VWB-1/2/2bab3dd80241db116f04a67e8ea5e1a3
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 56 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 77-102

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:56:y:2005:i:1:p:77-102
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 382-97, July.
  2. Smetters, Kent, 1999. "Ricardian equivalence: long-run Leviathan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 395-421, September.
  3. William L. Miller, 1980. "Primogeniture, Entails, and Endowments in English Classical Economics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 12(4), pages 558-581, Winter.
  4. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S151-82, July.
  5. Liam Kennedy, 1991. "Farm succession in modern Ireland: elements of a theory of inheritance," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 44(3), pages 477-499, 08.
  6. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-37, October.
  7. Anderson, C. Leigh & Swimmer, Eugene, 1997. "Some empirical evidence on property rights of first peoples," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-22, May.
  8. Stodder James, 1995. "The Evolution of Complexity in Primitive Exchange: Empirical Tests," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 190-210, April.
  9. Colwell, Peter F & Munneke, Henry J, 1999. "Land Prices and Land Assembly in the CBD," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 163-80, March.
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, October.
  11. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-79, December.
  12. Menchik, Paul L, 1980. "Primogeniture, Equal Sharing, and the U. S. Distribution of Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 299-316, March.
  13. Alston, Lee J & Libecap, Gary D & Schneider, Robert, 1996. "The Determinants and Impact of Property Rights: Land Titles on the Brazilian Frontier," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 25-61, April.
  14. Buchanan, James M, 1983. "Rent Seeking, Noncompensated Transfers, and Laws of Succession," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 71-85, April.
  15. Pryor, Frederic L, 1973. "Simulation of the Impact of Social and Economic Institutions on the Size Distribution of Income and Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(1), pages 50-72, March.
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