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Property Rights without Transfer Rights: A Study of Indian Land Allotment

Christian Dippel, Dustin Frye () and Bryan Leonard

No 27479, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: The importance of secure land rights for economic development is well-documented. Limits on the ability to transfer (i.e. sell or bequeath) these rights, however, have received much less attention from economists, despite the fact that such limits are common throughout the world. We investigate the long-run consequences of non-transferability using a natural experiment from the early 20th century, when millions of acres of reservation lands were allotted to individual Native American households, some as nontransferable trust land and some under fee-simple with full transfer rights. We compare land development and agricultural activity on neighboring plots with different transfer rights using fine-grained satellite imagery from 1974–2012.

JEL-codes: J15 N51 Q15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-07
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