Foreword from Prof. Walter Park
I am deeply honored for the invitation to write the Foreword to the International Property Rights Index 2018 Report. I was very humbled and in awe to learn that Hernando de Soto had been writing the Forewords of the previous editions of this Report. It is not an easy task to follow his footsteps and give the Report the same quality testimonial that it is due.
The Property Rights Index is an invaluable contribution, whether the reader is a policymaker, scholar, businessperson, or community organizer. It is axiomatic that property rights play a fundamental role in the functioning of our economies. Moreover, they are rights that members of society value fundamentally. For people who live in countries or communities where property rights are well defined, secure, and accessible, it may be easy to take these rights for granted since the benefits they yield or consequences they produce are pervasive and are everyday facts-of-life. But it must be appreciated that large numbers of people in many different places have limited or no property rights and struggle to acquire them. Many businesses in different places operate under an environment where property rights are tenuous or uncertain.
This Report provides a comprehensive scoreboard and analysis of the state of property rights across countries in the world. It enables comparative analyses to be conducted among countries as well as trend analyses over time; that is, to identify where property rights regimes are strong and where they fall short and what the gaps are, and assess whether property rights have shifted over time due to policies, institutional changes, or other events. The Property Rights Index is especially advantageous in that it takes a broad view of the elements of property rights, such as the legal and political environment, physical (tangible) property rights, and intellectual (intangible) property rights – the third element of which I am pleased to have played a small role in contributing to the overall Index.
In addition to quantifying the state of property rights protection by country, the Report conducts analyses with the measures of property rights; for example, their relationship to socio-economic outcomes, liberties, social capital, and E-society (such as networked readiness). It also contains an insightful section on property rights and gender equality, a topic of major relevance in modern economic development. It is interesting to find that the average property rights score has risen this year compared to last, and that strong property rights continue to be associated positively with measures of economic development and well-being.
The work of the Property Rights Alliance and their partners deserve much attention and plaudits for their painstaking data collection, compilation, and analyses. It is with the help of their quantitative index -- by making current institutional regimes visible to the public – that we can hopefully produce some real change in our world.
Dr. Walter Park
Professor, Department of Economics
The 2018 International Property Rights Index, now in its twelve edition, offers a unique and original perspective on the correlations between the societies and economies of 125 countries accounting for 98% of world GDP, and 93% of the world’s population. The Index, during all these years, confirm that there is a direct correlation between property rights and different dimensions of economic development.
The Index includes correlations between the IPRI scores and other measures of social and economic well-being, no doubt useful for researchers and policymakers. The most robust IPRI ratings in each category were Global Entrepreneurship (GEI), Network Readiness (NRI), Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Civic Activism, Human Development (HDI), number of researchers in R&D, and Political Development Index (PDI).
The correlations affirm the indispensable role classical liberal thinkers ascribe to private property rights. They allow business owners, inventors, artists, and those outside the formal economy to have the true value of their assets realized, allowing them to act in their best interests – economies flourish, governance improves, and the environment benefits when property rights are clear, accessible, and enforced.
This Index will serve as an important policy tool for policymakers and business communities to understand how the three main components of the property rights ecosystem (Legal and Political Environment, Physical Property Rights, and Intellectual Property Rights) interact to attract investment and nurture healthy institutions
On behalf of the Property Rights Alliance, I would like to thank all of those who contributed to the development of the 2018 International Property Rights Index. My true appreciation goes to Dr. Sary Levy-Carciente (PhD), the 2018 Hernando de Soto Fellow and author of this year’s index. A special thanks to PRA IP & Trade Policy Analyst Philip Thompson for his research assistance and his communications strategy, and thanks to PRA Associate Brogan Feeley for editing the country profiles. A special thanks to Prof. Walter Park, from the American University for his foreword. Our great thanks to Jasson Urbach and Leon Louw from Free Market Foundation for hosting the 2018 global launch.
I am especially thankful for Hernando De Soto’s longstanding and tireless efforts to promote and advocate for property rights around the world. The International Property Rights Index is possible thanks to his inspiring work, and his support allows PRA to establish the eponymous fellowship responsible for this publication year after year.
Property Rights Alliance