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Property rights and economic growth: evidence from a natural experiment


  • Brunt, Liam

    () (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)


In 1795 the British took control of the Cape colony (South Africa) from the Dutch; and in 1843 they exogenously changed the legal basis of landholding, giving more secure property rights to landholders. Since endowments and other factors were held constant, these changes offer clean tests of the effects on economic growth of colonial identity and secure property rights. The effects of both changes were immediate, positive and large. Other legal and institutional changes, such as the move to a common law system in 1827, had no such effects on economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Brunt, Liam, 2011. "Property rights and economic growth: evidence from a natural experiment," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 20/2011, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhheco:2011_020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meersman, Hilde & Pauwels, Tom & Van de Voorde, Eddy & Vanelslander, Thierry, 2010. "Applying SMC pricing in PPPs for the maritime sector," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 87-101.
    2. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
    3. Peran van Reeven, 2010. "The Effect of Competition on Economic Rents in Seaports," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 44(1), pages 79-92, January.
    4. Strandenes Siri Pettersen, 2004. "Port Pricing Structures and Ship Efficiency," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-10, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Braunfels, Elias, 2016. "Further Unbundling Institutions," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 13/2016, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Economic growth; legal origins; property rights;

    JEL classification:

    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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