Property rights, especially over land, give financial security. Even where the land is very humble, such as in slums, such rights give an incentive for owners to improve and care for their properties, and to work together to add such developments as sanitation and water supply, increasing the health and welfare of the community.

Hernando de Soto's book The Mystery of CapitalW examines this in depth.

Lack of property rights often lead to perverse incentives and damaging behaviors, out of self-protection:

Even naturally sprouting trees were off-limits to farmers [in the Sahel] until laws were changed to recognize their property rights. Tree management was traditionally part of normal agricultural practice here, Salif explained; it was encouraged by the Barahogon, a voluntary association of farmers to which both Salif and his father belonged. But the practice was largely abandoned after first colonial and later African governments declared that all trees belonged to the state, a policy that gave officials the opportunity to sell timber rights to business people. Under this system, farmers were punished if they were caught cutting trees, so to avoid hassles they often uprooted seedlings as soon as they sprouted.[1]

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Authors Chris Watkins
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Language English (en)
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Created February 21, 2011 by Chris Watkins
Modified June 9, 2023 by StandardWikitext bot
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