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The de Soto effect

  • Timothy Besley
  • Maitreesh Ghatak

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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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/25429/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 25429.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:25429
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Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. 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.
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    • Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
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  5. 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.
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  9. Genicot, Garance, 2002. "Bonded labor and serfdom: a paradox of voluntary choice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 101-127, February.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1991. "Group Lending, Repayment Incentives And Social Collateral," Papers 152, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  16. 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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  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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