<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Contractual rights, then, are based on property rights and they allow individuals to enter into agreements with others regarding the use of their property providing recourse through the legal system in the event of noncompliance. One example is the employment agreement: a skilled surgeon operates on an ill person and expects to get paid. Failure to pay would constitute a theft of property by the patient; that property being the services provided by the surgeon. In a society with strong property rights and contractual rights, the terms of the patient–surgeon contract will be fulfilled, because the surgeon would have recourse through the court system to extract payment from that individual. Without a legal system that enforces contracts, people would not be likely to enter into contracts for current or future services because of the risk of non-payment. This would make it difficult to transact business and would slow economic growth.

The World Bank considers a country’s legal system effective if it upholds property rights and contractual rights. The World Bank has developed a ranking system for countries’ legal systems based on effective protection of property rights and rule-based governance using a scale from 1 to 6, with 1 being the lowest and 6 the highest rating. In 2013, the world average ranking was 2.9. The three countries with the lowest ranking of 1.5 were Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, and Zimbabwe; their GDP per capita was $679, $333, and $1,007 respectively. Afghanistan is cited by the World Bank as having a low standard of living, weak government structure, and lack of adherence to the rule of law, which has stymied its economic growth. The landlocked Central African Republic has poor economic resources as well as political instability and is a source of children used in human trafficking. Zimbabwe has had declining growth since 1998. Land redistribution and price controls have disrupted the economy, and corruption and violence have dominated the political process. Although global economic growth has increased, those countries lacking a clear system of property rights and an independent court system free from corruption have lagged far behind.

Key concepts and summary

Since the early nineteenth century, there has been a spectacular process of long-run economic growth during which the world’s leading economies—mostly those in Western Europe and North America—expanded GDP per capita at an average rate of about 2% per year. In the last half-century, countries like Japan, South Korea, and China have shown the potential to catch up. The extensive process of economic growth, often referred to as modern economic growth, was facilitated by the Industrial Revolution, which increased worker productivity and trade, as well as the development of governance and market institutions.


Bolt, Jutta, and Jan Luiten van Zanden. “The Maddison Project: The First Update of the Maddison Project Re-Estimating Growth Before 1820 (Maddison-Project Working Paper WP-4).” University of Groningen: Groningen Growth and Development Centre . Last modified January 2013. http://www.ggdc.net/maddison/publications/pdf/wp4.pdf.

Central Intelligence Agency. “The World Factbook: Country Comparison GDP (Purchasing Power Parity).” https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2001rank.html.

DeLong, Brad. “Lighting the Rocket of Growth and Lightening the Toil of Work: Another Outtake from My ‘Slouching Towards Utopia’ MS....” This is Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality (blog). September 3, 2013. http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/09/lighting-the-rocket-of-growth-and-lightening-the-toil-of-work-another-outtake-from-my-slouching-towards-utopia-ms.html.

Easterlin, Richard A. “The Worldwide Standard of Living since 1800.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives . no. 1 (2000): 7–26. http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.14.1.7.

Maddison, Angus. Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

British Library. “Treasures in Full: Magna Carta.” http://www.bl.uk/treasures/magnacarta/.

Rothbard, Murray N. Ludwig von Mises Institute. “Property Rights and the Theory of Contracts.” The Ethics of Liberty . Last modified June 22, 2007. http://mises.org/daily/2580.

Salois, Matthew J., J. Richard Tiffin, and Kelvin George Balcombe. IDEAS: Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “Impact of Income on Calorie and Nutrient Intakes: A Cross-Country Analysis.” Presention at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Pittsburg, PA, July 24–26, 2011. http://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/aaea11/103647.html.

van Zanden, Jan Luiten. The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution: The European Economy in a Global Perspective, 1000–1800 (Global Economic History Series) . Boston: Brill, 2009.

The World Bank. “CPIA Property Rights and Rule-based Governance Rating (1=low to 6=high).” http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IQ.CPA.PROP.XQ.

Rex A. Hudson, ed. Brazil: A Country Study . “Spectacular Growth, 1968–73.” Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1997. http://countrystudies.us/brazil/64.htm.

Questions & Answers

explain manetary policy
Amina Reply
why SA is used in estimating of national income
Unique Reply
first what SA stand for?
SA stand for static adjustment
machenism of monetary expansion
norther one
explain manetary policy
I want Keynes clear example of critics on Long run , please!!
AA Reply
new monetary policy of Pakistan
what study of macro economic..?
Yogini Reply
macroeconomics can be defined as a branch of economics that studies the structure and principles governing an economy(national,regional or global) rather than individual markets
What is say's law of marketing?
goods once sold can't be returned
but thats not true at all goods are returned all the time
yah ur right, as a buyer, But in the marketing world, once a good is sold, its sold.
thanks @marvin
what study of macro economic ..?
what does this saying in economics means "there is no such thing as a free lunch pls
Saibu Reply
autonomous consumption
consumption that is not related to level of income u hve.. eg consumption of basic necessities.
autonomous consumption is the consumption when income is zero or expenditure is not vary from income
what is investment function?
what is the relationship between demand and supply?
According to ijmb marking guide, Differentiate between capital expenditure and revenue expenditure.
elemi Reply
Sir please provide me notes on :-unemployment-the trade-off between inflation and unemployment
Swikrit Reply
what is income
reward for rendering a sercive the real income is after a taxt y-t = (y)
what are the components of trade?
Michelle Reply
whats is gdp
odell Reply
what is gdp per capita
GDP of state divided by its population: GDP per capita. it is one of the most relevant indicator of prosperity among its citizens.
which one is more advantageous or accurate to the other between GDP and GNP?
Both, GDP measures only the incomes generated within the country, irrespective of ownership. whereas,GNP measures the total income earned by nationals.
but which one is a better measure
what are supernormal profits
Caroline Reply
what are zero economic profits
under what circumstances may a firm continue operating even when it is making losses
why should government influence location of a firm
using an illustration,distinguish between breakeven and shutdown point of a firm
supernormal profits are profits beyond the normal profits a firm expects to have after the sale of all goods n services it produced
what are the differences between choice and scarcity
Primus Reply
what is the difference between choice and scarcity
choice means we have many options scarcity means limitation within the same option we chose among choices.
what the d/f production efficeincy and out put efficeincy
what is money?
Primus Reply
money is the material which used to exchange to buy or sell
What is the law of large numbers
Nana Reply

Get the best Macroeconomics course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Macroeconomics' conversation and receive update notifications?