This chapter discusses the importance of property rights in capitalist economies. It provides a general definition of property, and then discusses the institutions that enforce property rights. It notes that complex property rights may not be enforceable in the courts, and discusses theoretical and empirical research into the extra-legal institutions that are required. The chapter then details the nature of the relational contracts that these institutions support. Finally, it notes the tensions between the State and the extra-legal property rights institutions, and it highlights the danger that successful extra-legal institutions will serve as a focus for State rent-seeking.
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