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Securing property rights

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A central challenge in securing property rights is the subversion of justice through legal skill, bribery, or physical force by the strong—the state or its powerful citizens—against the weak.We present evidence that undue influence on judges is a common concern in many countries, especially among the poor. We then present a model of a water polluter whose discharges contaminate adjacent land. If this polluter can subvert the assessment of damages caused by his activity, there is an efficiency case for granting the landowner the right to an injunction that stops the polluter, rather than the right to compensation for the harm. If the polluter can subvert even the determination of his responsibility for harm, there is an efficiency case for regulation that restricts pollution regardless of its effects. We then conduct an empirical analysis of water quality in the U.S. before and after the Clean Water Act, and show how regulation brought about cleaner water, particularly in states with higher corruption.

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  • A. Patrick Behrer & Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2019. "Securing property rights," Economics Working Papers 1538, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1538
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    Cited by:

    1. Hans-Bernd Schäfer & Ram Singh, 2018. "Takings of Land by Self-Interested Governments: Economic Analysis of Eminent Domain," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(3), pages 427-459.
    2. Julio Dávila, 2021. "Property rights and long‐run capital," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 23(6), pages 1261-1286, December.
    3. Matthieu Chemin, 2020. "Judicial Efficiency and Firm Productivity: Evidence from a World Database of Judicial Reforms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 49-64, March.
    4. Aram Grigoryan & Mattias Polborn, 2018. "Insecure Property Rights and the Missing Middle," CESifo Working Paper Series 7203, CESifo.
    5. Duranton, Gilles & Venables, Anthony J, 2018. "Place-Based Policies for Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 12889, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Sultan Mehmood, 2021. "The impact of Presidential appointment of judges: Montesquieu or the Federalists?," Working Papers halshs-03161933, HAL.
    7. Edward L. Glaeser, 2016. "Real Estate Bubbles and Urban Development," NBER Working Papers 22997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Nava Ashraf & Alexia Delfino & Edward L. Glaeser, 2019. "Rule of Law and Female Entrepreneurship," NBER Working Papers 26366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Edward L. Glaeser & Wentao Xiong, 2017. "Urban Productivity in the Developing World," NBER Working Papers 23279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Catherine Boone, 2017. "Legal empowerment of the poor through property rights reform: Tensions and trade-offs of land registration and titling in sub-Saharan Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 037, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Sultan Mehmood & Avner Seror, 2021. "Religious Leaders and Rule Of Law," Working Papers w0280, New Economic School (NES).
    12. Mehmood, Sultan & Seror, Avner, 2023. "Religious leaders and rule of law," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C).
    13. Perego, Viviana M.E., 2019. "Crop prices and the demand for titled land: Evidence from Uganda," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 93-109.
    14. Zhang, Qiong & Shi, Yupeng & He, Angda & Wen, Xueting, 2017. "Property rights security and firm survival: Micro-data evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 296-310.
    15. Aberra, Adam & Chemin, Matthieu, 2021. "Does legal representation increase investment? Evidence from a field experiment in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    16. Catherine Boone, 2017. "Legal empowerment of the poor through property rights reform: Tensions and trade-offs of land registration and titling in sub-Saharan Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-37, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    17. Edward L. Glaeser, 2017. "Real Estate Bubbles and Urban Development," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 34(2), pages 114-151, September.
    18. Gandhi, Sahil & Green, Richard K. & Patranabis, Shaonlee, 2022. "Insecure property rights and the housing market: explaining India's housing vacancy paradox," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 116600, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Property Rights; Subversion; Liability; Injunction;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights

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