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Owning versus Renting: Do Courts Matter?

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  • Pablo Casas-Arce
  • Albert Saiz

Abstract

We develop a legal contract enforcement theory of the decision to own or lease. The allocation of ownership rights will minimize enforcement costs when the legal system is inefficient. In particular, when legal enforcement of contracts is costly, there will be a shift from arrangements that rely on such enforcement (such as a rental agreement) toward other forms that do not (such as direct ownership). We then test this prediction and show that costly enforcement of rental contracts hampers the development of the rental housing market in a cross section of countries. We argue that this association is not the result of reverse causation from a developed rental market to more investor protective enforcement and is not driven by alternative institutional channels. The results provide supportive evidence for the importance of legal contract enforcement for market development and the optimal allocation of property rights. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Casas-Arce & Albert Saiz, 2010. "Owning versus Renting: Do Courts Matter?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 137-165, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:53:y:2010:i:1:p:137-165
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Nesheim & Florian Oswald & Jonathan Halket, 2015. "A Selection Model of Hedonic House Values and Rents," 2015 Meeting Papers 961, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Deffains Bruno & Roussey Ludivine, 2011. "The Multiplier Effect of Public Expenditure on Justice: The Case of Rental Litigation," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 243-263, August.
    3. Margarta Rubio, 2014. "Rented vs. Owner-Occupied Housing and Monetary Policy," Discussion Papers 2014/09, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    4. Eva Ortega & Margarita Rubio & Carlos Thomas, 2011. "House purchase versus rental in Spain," Working Papers 1108, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    5. Masuch, Klaus & Anderton, Robert & Setzer, Ralph & Benalal, Nicholai, 2018. "Structural policies in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 210, European Central Bank.
    6. repec:eee:regeco:v:68:y:2018:i:c:p:73-83 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Guilherme Lichand & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2014. "Access to Justice and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Brazil's Special Civil Tribunals," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 459-499.

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