Skip to main content
Paths to Property: Approaches to Institutional Change in International Development
  • Karol C. Boudreaux
  • Paul D. Aligica
Sub-Saharan Africa has received billions of dollars in foreign aid over the last fifty years yet economic development has remained elusive. In many countries absolute poverty has increased and life expectancy has declined. This monograph argues that the results of traditional approaches to development policy have been disappointing. Instead, the focus needs to be on the adoption of sound political and legal institutions. In particular, clearly defined and enforced private property rights are needed to encourage entrepreneurship and economic growth. However, institutional environments in Africa are both complex and challenging, and the creation of secure property rights is far from a straightforward process. The monograph examines several case studies of property rights reform in the developing world and suggests that universal policies applied without regard to local culture and tradition tends to fail. Reforms are more likely to succeed when they evolve gradually and are tailored to, or reflective of, local norms and values rather than imposed from above by governments, aid agencies and supranational institutions.
  • development,
  • property rights,
  • Africa,
  • evolution,
  • legislation
Publication Date
December, 2007
Institute of Economic Affairs
Hobart Paper 162
978 0 255 36582 6
Citation Information
Karol C. Boudreaux and Paul D. Aligica. Paths to Property: Approaches to Institutional Change in International Development. London, England(2007)
Available at: