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What Determines Protection of Property Rights? An Analysis of Direct and Indirect Effects

Listed author(s):
  • Meghana Ayyagari
  • Asli Demirgüç-Kunt
  • Vojislav Maksimovic

Using cross-country data, we evaluate four conceptually distinct causal variables believed to shape property rights institutions: Legal Origin, Endowments, Ethnic Diversity, and Religion. Given the correlations between the explanatory variables, it is difficult to fashion empirical tests which are consistent in their treatment of the competing theories and to know which regressions to take seriously, giving rise to competing interpretations in the literature. We identify which of the variables are direct determinants of property rights protection and which are not, and subject the outcomes to a battery of robustness tests. We find that ethnic fractionalization is the dominant institutional predictor of property rights protection across the world. Despite the attention it has received in the literature, the impact of Legal Origin on protection of property rights appears fragile and dependent on the inclusion of transition economies in the sample. Copyright The Author, 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jjfinec/nbs010
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Article provided by Society for Financial Econometrics in its journal Journal of Financial Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 610-649

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jfinec:v:11:y:2013:i:4:p:610-649
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