Case Studies

Tunisia - The Arab Spring: A Massive Clamor for Access to Property and Business Rights

by Dr. Ana Lucía Camaiora

The study describes ILD’s research on the Arab Spring — especially in Tunisia — and shows the economic roots as well as the legal discrimination/exclusion behind the revolution. It was sparked by the self-immolation of a Tunisian street fruit vendor; the revolution then spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), toppling dictators and fighting for opportunities to provide the poor with the same rights as those people with formal property rights and businesses in those countries. The study shows the magnitude of informality in Tunisia, as well as the obstacles and costs of an inadequate legal system — in this and other countries in the region — that do not give the majority of its informal entrepreneurs access to the legal tools needed to succeed in the national and global markets. Additionally, the study assesses the reasons why the governments in these countries have not done what is necessary to remove the economic constraints affecting their citizens, and concludes that only those politicians, who understand that their informal entrepreneurs are already working in the market and comprise a huge constituency, will be able to change the status quo and channel the Arab Spring towards sustainable growth and peace for their nations.

The full case study can be found on page 111.


Venezuela - Status of Property in Venezuela

by Prof. Luis Alfonso Herrera and Prof. Felipe Benitez

Since roughly 2005, but with greater emphasis beginning in 2007 (when the Venezuelan government attempted to reform the Constitution), there has been a systematic state policy – rather than general, continued, and gradual – implemented which dismisses tangible and intangible property rights. This policy is expressed in actions such as: laws which reserve the State the ownership of agrarian lands; laws that declare urban lands in the public interest open for seizures; decrees on rescue of agrarian and urban lands; laws that declare all production goods in public interest; use of seizure as administrative penalty; discriminatory seizures without compensation; permanent exchange regulations and unlimited discretionary acts of government; decrees on takeover and use of private companies; and refusal to register and protect intangible property rights; among others. Due to the decrees, laws, and regulations issued between 2007 and 2012, Venezuela's legal system is ± 85% against property rights. For this reason, short and medium-term recommendations have been made based on endpoints to stop said policy, reassert ownership, and lay a legal framework based on respect for property rights.

The full case study can be found on page 116.


China - Protection of Property Rights as a Key to Economic Success in China

by Prof. Xingyuan Feng, Prof. Christer Ljungwall, and Prof. Yeliang Xia

China is now the world’s second largest economy in terms of GDP and a new member of the middle-income economies. However, a number of political, economic, and social problems have created a bottleneck in maintaining sustainable economic growth. This can result in a “middle-income trap”. Since China’s reform and opening-up in 1978, the resurgence and development of the private sector has been the key to China’s economic success. Entrepreneurs in non-state enterprises were initially suppressed, but then gradually tolerated and ultimately recognized by the government. Another source of private sector development is the level of privatization that has taken place in China. Since 2006, renationalization sped up a government policy of creating mega SOEs by the merging of existing SOEs that could be global players. At the same time, the government has relied too much on increases in fiscal spending to maintain high economic growth. Renationalization and excessive fiscal spending not only led to the crowding out of private investment and private sector development, it also delayed the adjustment of ownership and industrial structures in the Chinese economy. In addition, Chinese urbanization is pressing forward at the expense farmers’ property rights. In summary, the only way out of an all-out crisis is to boost private sector development and better protect the property rights of farmers and private entrepreneurs.

The full case study can be found on page 120.


Thailand - Thailand’s Titles Project Seen from the Perspective of Economic Development

by Prof. Kriengsak Chareonwongsak

Property rights are fundamentally important to capitalism. However, when a property rights system is incomplete and property rights laws are enforced ineffectively, slow economic growth is the result. This leads to a higher incidence of poverty and there is a high incidence of poverty. This article aims to evaluate the completeness of the property rights system in Thailand and the impact of an incomplete property rights system. The framework of this article uses four components of efficient property rights structure; including universality, exclusivity, transferability, and enforceability. The result of this study shows that nearly all public land lacks complete property rights due to unclear boundaries of land ownership. Almost half of all private land titles assign no complete property rights to their landowners. Incomplete property rights to both public and private land impacts Thailand’s economic development with such problems as poverty among agriculturists, uneven land distribution, land under-utilization, and the problem of trespass. As to the problems of incomplete property rights, suggestions have been proposed. For example, integrate the country's land management system, change all land title documents to be of the same type, reform land taxation in order to distribute land, establish a National Land Bank for the poor, and other solutions.

The full case study can be found on page 123.


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