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Property and Contract Rights in Autocracies and Democracies

  • Clague, Christopher
  • Keefer, Philip
  • Knack, Stephen
  • Olson, Mancur

We present and test empirically a new theory of property and contract rights. Any incentive an autocrat has to respect such rights comes from his interest in future tax collections and national income and increases with his planning horizon. We find a compelling empirical relationship between property and contract rights and an autocrat's time in power. In lasting -- but not in new -- democracies, the same rule of law and individual rights that ensure continued free elections entail extensive property and contract rights. We show that the age of a democratic system is strongly correlated with property and contract rights.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25720/1/MPRA_paper_25720.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 25720.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Growth 2.1(1996): pp. 243-276
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25720
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
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Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

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  1. John F. Helliwell, 1992. "Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Sule Ozler & Nouriel Roubini & Phillip Swagel, 1992. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Katharine G. Abraham & Henry S. Farber, 1986. "Job Duration, Seniority, and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 1819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  5. Herschel I. Grossman & Suk Jae Noh, 1990. "A Theory Of Kleptocracy With Probabilistic Survival And Reputation," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 157-171, 07.
  6. Robert J. Barro, 1994. "Democracy & Growth," NBER Working Papers 4909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Abrams, Burton A & Lewis, Kenneth A, 1995. " Cultural and Institutional Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Section Analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 83(3-4), pages 273-89, June.
  8. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  9. Londregan, J. & Poole, K.T., 1991. "The Seizure of Executive Power and Economic Growth: Some Additional Evidence," GSIA Working Papers 1991-6, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  10. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
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