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The Sociology of Property Rights

Bruce G. Carruthers and Laura Ariovich
Annual Review of Sociology
Vol. 30 (2004), pp. 23-46
Published by: Annual Reviews
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29737683
Page Count: 24
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The Sociology of Property Rights
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Abstract

Property rights matter for their effects on economic inequality and economic performance, and they unfold at the intersection of law, the state, politics, and the economy. Five dimensions of property are discussed: the objects of property (what can be owned), the subjects of property (who can own), the uses of property (what can be done with it), the enforcement of rights (how property rules are maintained), and the transfer of property (how property moves between different owners). We offer examples of how property rights systems vary along these dimensions and how they change over time. We illustrate the arguments with two contemporary empirical cases: the transition economies of Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, and China, and the transformation of intellectual property rights.

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