A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics
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A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics

Edited by Claude Ménard and Mary M. Shirley

Consisting of 30 concise chapters written by top scholars, this Research Agenda probes the knowledge frontiers of issues long at the forefront of New Institutional Economics (NIE), including government, contracts and property rights. It examines pressing research questions surrounding norms, culture, and beliefs. It is designed to inform and inspire students and those starting their careers in economics, law and political science. Well-established scholars will also find the book invaluable in updating their understanding of crucial research questions and seeking new areas to explore.
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Chapter 12: Questions of property rights

Dominic Parker

Abstract

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.

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