- Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
- No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
The 2023 International Property Rights Index, now in its seventeenth edition, offers a unique perspective on the correlation between the societies and economies of 125 countries accounting for 98% of the world GDP and 94% of the world’s population.
There are three main enduring questions behind the Index: What would the world be like without property rights? How would countries build and strengthen their property rights and improve their free-market economies without a fair and transparent legal and political environment? How would a company or a start-up defend its own trademarks and copyrights without a consolidated intellectual property rights system? The Index, throughout these years, tried to answer these three main questions and in fact, it confirms that there is a direct and strong correlation between property rights and different dimensions of economic development. The Index includes correlations between the IPRI scores and other measures of social and economic well-being, no doubt useful for researchers and policymakers. It is important to highlight that the IPRI shows a very strong correlation with the Global Entrepreneurship Index (0.9) showing its crucial role in driving free enterprise. The IPRI also shows an outstanding correlation of 0.89 with the Network Readiness Index, 0.81 with the Global Innovation Index, and 0.8 with The World Energy Trilemma Index, insisting on the appropriateness and relevance of property rights systems for emerging societies.
The correlations affirm the indispensable role classical liberal thinkers ascribe to private property rights. They allow business owners, inventors, artists, and those outside the formal economy to have the true value of their assets realized, allowing them to act in their best interests – economies flourish, governance improves, and the environment benefits when property rights are clear, accessible, and enforced. Property rights are not only one of the most important pillars of any free society, but also human rights as stated in art.17 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This Index will serve as an important tool for policymakers and business communities to understand how the three main components of the property rights ecosystem (Legal and Political Environment, Physical Property Rights, and Intellectual Property Rights) interact to attract investment and nurture healthy institutions. As the Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman stated: “I think that nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual’s natural right to property and giving individuals a sense that they own something that they’re responsible for, that they have control over, and that they can dispose of.”
On behalf of the Property Rights Alliance, I would like to thank all of those who contributed to the development of the 2023 International Property Rights Index. My true appreciation goes to Dr. Sary Levy-Carciente (Ph.D.), the 2023 Hernando de Soto Fellow and author of this year’s index.
A special thanks to the authors of the 2023 IPRI case studies:
- “Analyzing the Impact of Mandatory Licensing on Intellectual Property Rights in Colombia.” By Andrea Calle y Alba Isabel García, Carlos Augusto Chacón, Instituto de Ciencia Política Hernán Echavarría Olózaga, Colombia.
- “The Importance of IP Protection for Belgian Biotech Company, Argenx.” By Pieter Cleppe, Brussels Report, Belgium.
- “Current Situation on Women's Land Rights in Tanzania”, By Evans Exaud, Founder & Executive Director, Liberty Sparks, Tanzania.
- “Property Rights, Regional Trade, and Prosperity: The Case of Mexico.” By Dr. Roberto Salinas-Leon, Center for Latin America-Atlas Network, Mexico
- “Assessing The State Of Property Rights Protections In Canada” By Joseph Quesnel, Senior Research Associate for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Canada
- “Property Rights and Forest Change: Examining Cross-Country Data And Existing Literature” By Shawn Regan, Vice President of Research, Property and Environment Research Center, USA
- “The Ballad Of Property Registration In Egypt” By Mohamed M. Farid Senator in the Egyptian Senate and Cofounder of the Liberal Club of Cairo, Egypt
- Property Rights In Bolivia By Leonardo Siles Oporto and Jorge Velarde-Rosso, Libera, Bolivia
- Navigating Challenges In Brazil’s Intellectual Property Landscape By Prof. Vladimir Fernandes Maciel, Centro Mackenzie de Liberdade Econômica, Brazil
I’m very grateful to my colleague Christopher Butler, executive director of Americans for Tax Reform and the Tholos Foundation, and to Philip Thompson, IP and Trade Specialist for their support and suggestions for improving the Index every year.
A special thanks to PRA Fellows Jackson Avery and Dr. Susanna Lukacs for their great assistance and outstanding work on reviewing the IPRI and developing a communications strategy.
I am especially thankful for Hernando De Soto’s longstanding and tireless efforts and his intellectual support as well as our long conversations about how to expand and strategize property rights protection in developing countries. The International Property Rights Index was made possible thanks to his inspiring work, and his support allows PRA to establish the eponymous fellowship responsible for this publication year after year.
Finally, a special recognition to Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and Tholos Foundation for making this Index possible, I thank him for his support and commitment to promoting innovation, and defending property rights and intellectual property not only in the USA but worldwide.