Discussion Paper Series in Economics, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH)
Property rights and economic growth: evidence from a natural experiment
Abstract: 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.
Keywords: Economic growth; legal origins; property rights; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: N47; O43; (follow links to similar papers)
48 pages, December 8, 2011
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