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Dominic Parker

The study of property rights lies at the heart of institutional economics and has been the subject of much seminal research. But many old research questions demand new answers. Why and when do property rights emerge?  What role does or should the state play in the creation and evolution of property rights? I argue there is no static answer to these questions.  Novel technologies and production processes, combined with modern global demand shocks, have created pressures for new definitions of property rights and opened new research opportunities. For example, rising demand for sand has led to sand mafias in India, brutally defending their control rights, while the greater value being placed on pristine environments is challenging old “use-it-or-lose-it” rules. To understand and predict institutional responses moving forward, the field will need a new cadre of creative and dedicated scholars employing new theory, applications, and empirical tests.