Property Rights and Prosperity

Private property rights are in many contexts associated with the creation of wealth. Yet in most real-world examples of “private property regimes,” groups are excluded from opportunities to own property, their rights are not enforced, or they lack legal recognition. This project considers the importance of property rights to entrepreneurship and human fulfillment with emphasis on what explains why some groups are excluded from ownership opportunities. Research projects include housing demolitions and discrimination against rural landowners in China to fuel the government’s thirst for urbanization; land demolitions in Uzbekistan;  the exclusion of important groups from property rights and ownership in the US, with emphasis on inequities in property security for Native Americans, Black people, and women; and tension arising in land reform processes across Eurasia. Through such research, workshops, and conferences, the Center will lead academic and policy debates concerning the origins and consequences of property rights, as well as how to improve equity of opportunities to own land and related assets.