Property Rights and Property Wrongs

By Timothy Frye

Secure property rights are central to economic development and stable government, yet difficult to create. Timothy Frye examines how political power, institutions and norms shape property rights for businesses in Russia. Through a series of simple survey experiments conducted from 2000-2012, he explores how political power, personal connections, elections, concerns for reputation, the law and social norms influence property rights disputes—from hostile corporate takeovers to debt collection to renationalization. Frye, Marshall D. Shulman Professor of PostSoviet Foreign Policy and chairman of the political science department, argues that property rights in Russia are better seen as an evolving bargain between rulers and rightholders than as a reflection of economic transition, national culture or a weak state.