While scholars have hypothesized about the sources of variation in property rights for over 2500 years, it is only very recently that researchers have begun to test these theories empirically. This paper reviews both the theory and empirical evidence supporting and refuting the law and endowment views of property rights. The law view holds that historically determined differences in national legal traditions continue to shape cross-country differences in property rights. The endowment view argues that during European colonization, differences in climate, crops, the indigenous population, and the disease environment influenced long-run property rights.
"Law, Endowments and Property Rights."
Journal of Economic Perspectives,