Where There is No Government: Enforcing Property Rights in Common Law Africa

Hardcover | August 22, 2011

bySandra F. Joireman

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It is safe to say that a sizeable majority of the world's population would agree with the proposition that that property rights are important for political and social stability as well as economic growth. But what happens when the state fails to enforce such rights? Throughout sub-SaharanAfrica, this is in fact an endemic problem. In Where There is No Government, Sandra Joireman explains how weak state enforcement regimes have allowed private institutions in sub-Saharan Africa to define and enforce property rights. After delineating the types of actors who step in when the state is absent - traditional tribal leaders, entrepreneurial bureaucrats, NGOs, and violent groups - she argues that the institutions they develop can be helpful or predatory depending on their incentives and context. Because suchinstitutions are neither inherently good nor inherently bad, Joireman develops a set of measurement criteria to assess which types of property regimes and enforcement mechanisms are helpful and which are harmful to social welfare.By focusing on the varieties of property rights enforcement in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, Joireman moves beyond simply evaluating the effectiveness of official property rights laws. Provocatively, she also challenges the premise that changes in property law will lead to changes in property rights onthe ground. Indeed, states that change their property laws face challenges in implementation when they do not control the authority structures in local communities. Utilizing original research on the competitors to state power in Sub-Saharan Africa and the challenges of providing secure anddefensible property rights, Where There is No Government is a sharp analysis of one of the most daunting challenges facing the African subcontinent today.

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It is safe to say that a sizeable majority of the world's population would agree with the proposition that that property rights are important for political and social stability as well as economic growth. But what happens when the state fails to enforce such rights? Throughout sub-SaharanAfrica, this is in fact an endemic problem. In W...

Sandra F. Joireman is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Wheaton College, and editor of Church, State, and Citizen (OUP 2009).

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 6.3 × 9.21 × 1.1 inPublished:August 22, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199782482

ISBN - 13:9780199782482

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Colonization and the Myth of the Customary3. Under the Circumstances, We Do What We Can": Entrepreneurial Bureaucrats and the Allocation of Property Rights4. Property Rights Enforcement by Other Means: the Role of Non-Governmental Organizations5. Private Enforcement of Property Rights: The demand for specialists in violence6. In Search of Order: State systems of property rights enforcement and their failings7. Drawing Conclusions8. Bibliography9. Appendix