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The de Soto Effect

  • Besley, Timothy J.
  • Ghatak, Maitreesh

This paper explores the consequences of creating and improving property rights so that fixed assets can be used as collateral. This has become a cause célèbre of Hernando de Soto whose views are influential in debates about policy reform concerning property rights. Hence, we refer to the economic impact of such reforms as the de Soto effect. We explore the logic of the argument for credit contracts, both in isolation, and in market equilibrium. We show that the impact will vary with the degree of market competition. Where competition is weak, it is possible that borrowers will be worse off when property rights improve. We discuss the implications for optimal policy and the political economy of policy reform.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7259.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7259
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  1. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 2002. "Property Rights and Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1335-1356, December.
  2. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1768, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    • Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," NBER Working Papers 5661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    • La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Ghatak, Maitreesh & Morelli, Massimo & Sjostrom, Tomas, 2007. "Entrepreneurial talent, occupational choice, and trickle up policies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 27-48, November.
  4. Genicot, Garance, 2002. "Bonded labor and serfdom: a paradox of voluntary choice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 101-127, February.
  5. Szeidl, Adam & Rosenblat, Tanya & Mobius, Markus & Karlan, Dean, 2009. "Trust and Social Collateral," Scholarly Articles 3051620, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Contractual Structure and Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 818-849, September.
  7. Francesco Caselli & Nicola Gennaioli, 2008. "Economics and Politics of Alternative Institutional Reforms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1197-1250, August.
  8. Galiani, Sebastian & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2010. "Property rights for the poor: Effects of land titling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 700-729, October.
  9. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "The Persistence of Underdevelopment: Institutions, Human Capital or Constituencies," CEPR Discussion Papers 5867, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "The (Mis)Allocation of Capital," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 484-494, 04/05.
  11. Innes, Robert D., 1990. "Limited liability and incentive contracting with ex-ante action choices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 45-67, October.
  12. Erica Field, 2005. "Property Rights and Investment in Urban Slums," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 279-290, 04/05.
  13. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  14. José M. Liberti & Atif R. Mian, 2010. "Collateral Spread and Financial Development," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(1), pages 147-177, 02.
  15. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2005. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Working Papers 929, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  16. Krishna B. Kumar & John G. Matsusaka, 2004. "Village versus Market Social Capital: An Approach to Development," Development and Comp Systems 0408003, EconWPA.
  17. Ulf von Lilienfeld-Toal & Dilip Mookherjee, 2010. "The Political Economy of Debt Bondage," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 44-84, August.
  18. Field, Erica Marie, 2005. "Property Rights and Investment in Urban Slums," Scholarly Articles 3634150, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Kranton, Rachel E. & Swamy, Anand V., 1999. "The hazards of piecemeal reform: british civil courts and the credit market in colonial India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-24, February.
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