Elites and Property Rights


An elite derives its status from its relationship to property, whether physical or human capital. While stable property rights are necessary for everyday business, unstable property rights that result in major institutional changes (such as land reform) may have a positive impact on economic development. When are the ‘wrong’ property rights right? Institutional changes have a positive impact on economic development when a country’s elite can manage them. To support this generalization we examine the managerial capacity associated with elite status, highlighting which capabilities enable them to control changes in property rights regimes to their individual and national advantage. We compare how nationalization of foreign firms, a radical change in property rights, was managed in Argentina, China, Korea and Taiwan after the Second World War.


Amsden, A.H. Elites and Property Rights. UNU-WIDER, Helsinki, Finland (2010) 10 pp. ISBN 978-92-9230347-1 [WIDER Working Paper No. 2010/109]

Elites and Property Rights

Published 1 January 2010