Secure property rights are central to economic development and stable government, yet difficult to create. Relying on surveys in Russia from 2000 to 2012, Timothy Frye examines how political power, institutions, and norms shape property rights for firms. Through a series of simple survey experiments, Property Rights and Property Wrongs explores how political power, personal connections, elections, concerns for reputation, legal facts, and social norms influence property rights disputes from hostile corporate takeovers to debt collection to renationalization. This work argues that property rights in Russia are better seen as an evolving bargain between rulers and rightholders than as simply a reflection of economic transition, Russian culture, or a weak state. The result is a nuanced view of the political economy of Russia that contributes to central debates in economic development, comparative politics, and legal studies.
Timothy Frye is the Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy at Columbia University and the former Director of The Harriman Institute. Professor Frye received a B.A. in Russian language and literature from Middlebury College in 1986, an M.I.A. from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs in 1992, and a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1997. He is the author of Brokers and Bureaucrats: Building Market Institutions in Russia (2000), which won the 2001 Hewett Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and Building States and Markets after Communism: The Perils of Polarized Democracy (Cambridge, 2010). He has worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the US Agency for International Development. He is also Director of the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
1. Introduction; 2. Power and property; 3. Autocratic elections and property rights; 4. Courts and connections; 5. Reputation and the rule of law; 6. Social norms and the banker's gold watch; 7. Conclusion.