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09.03.2007 Feature Article

New analysis shows Property Rights laws boost prosperity

IPRI measure of seventy countries shows economic benefits of strong legal protection for land, inventions and other private property

A new international index reveals how laws on physical and intellectual property stimulate growth while the weakest economies have the weakest laws. Today's first annual International Property Rights Index (IPRI) measures seventy countries' performance in the protection of land titles and copyrights, assets and patents showing the direct effect on economic well-being.

In the developing world these “essential legal mechanisms easily available to the elite entrepreneurs in their country and all business people in advanced nations” are what the poor need to “allow them to do business in markets outside the limited confines of family and acquaintances,” says world-leading economist Hernando de Soto in his introduction.

The 2007 IPRI analyses Legal and Political Environment (LP), Physical Property Rights (PPR), and Intellectual Property Rights ( IPR ) in 70 countries accounting for 95% of world GDP: the countries in the top quartile of the Index have an average GDP per capita more than seven times those in the bottom quartile. The final results show an 89 percent correlation between GDP per capita and the IPRI score for each country: the stronger the rights of ownership, the better off the people.

The report by Property Rights Alliance in Washington , DC and its Hernando de Soto Fellowship program is distributed by 38 organizations from six continents, including IMANI, a think-tank in Accra , Ghana .

With regard to Ghana , the protection of property rights continues to be a challenge but a window of opportunity to change the situation exists. Franklin Cudjoe, IMANI's Director said “The current land sector agencies in Ghana , some of which are functionally superfluous and duplicatory are being pushed into a merger under a new Land Administration Project in order to as it were; make the operations of title identification easier while under one roof. This single act has the potential of turning the over 60,000 land cases currently before our courts into phenomenal wealth as investors become confident of predictable rules of administering landed property”

The International Property Rights Index seeks to assist underperforming countries to develop robust economies through an emphasis on sound property law, creating social and economic stability and the freedom to trade in goods and ideas. The Index gives researchers, policymakers and the public around the globe a tool for comparative analysis and future research.

For more information, a country-by-country analysis, the list of global partner organizations or the report in its entirety, visit

The 2007 IPRI partner organizations include: Alternate Solutions Institute (Pakistan), Asociación de Consumidores Libres (Costa Rica), Centre for Free Enterprise (Korea), Centro de Investigaciones Económicas Nacionales (Guatemala), CEPOS (Denmark), Competere (Italy), Circulo Liberal (Uruguay), CIVITA (Norway), ESEADE University (Argentina), Eudoxa (Sweden), European Center for Economic Growth (Belgium/Austria), FREE (Poland), Friedrich A. v. Hayek Institut (Austria), Friedrich Naumann Foundation (East and Southeast Asia Regional Office), Fundación Atlas 1853 (Argentina), Fundación IDEA (Mexico), Fundación Libertad (Panama), Fundación Libertad y Democracia (Bolivia), IMANI: The Centre for Humane Education (Ghana), Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (Nigeria), Instituto de Libre Empresa (Peru), Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Política (Ecuador), Instituto Liberdade (Brazil), Instituto Libertad y Progreso (Colombia), Instituto Para La Libertad y el Analisis de Politicas (Costa Rica), Institut Constant de Rebecque (Switzerland), Institute for Free Enterprise (Germany), Institute for Public Affairs (Australia), Inter Region Economic Network (Kenya), International Policy Network (United Kingdom), Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (Israel), Libertad y Desarrollo (Chile), Liberty Institute (India), Property Rights Alliance (United States), RSE - Centre for Social and Economic Research (Iceland), The Center for Institutional Analysis and Development (Romania), The Free Market Foundation (South Africa), The Lion Rock Institute (Hong Kong).

Franklin Cudjoe
Franklin Cudjoe, © 2007

This author has authored 112 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: FranklinCudjoe

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