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A Theory of Ambiguous Property Rights in Transition Economies: The Case of the Chinese Non-State Sector

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  • David D. Li

Abstract

Can ambiguous property rights sometimes be efficient? Ambiguous property rights arises when owners' rights axe not guaranteed before hand. Instead, owners have to fight for actual control, ex pos. We show that China's highly successful non-state sector is a major example of ambiguous property rights. We then propose a theory of ambiguous property rights, which argues that ambiguous property rights arise due to an imperfect market environment. We argue that the immature market environment in China makes ambiguous property rights often more efficient than unambiguously defined private property rights.

Suggested Citation

  • David D. Li, 1996. "A Theory of Ambiguous Property Rights in Transition Economies: The Case of the Chinese Non-State Sector," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 8, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:1996-8
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P21 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Planning, Coordination, and Reform

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