Journal of Economic History
The Politics of Property Rights

The Journal of Economic History
Volume 67 / Issue 02 / June 2007, pp 545-546
Reviewed by Alan Dye

Referring to the mission of “bringing democracy to the Middle East,” President Bush has argued that it cannot be abandoned because the alternatives are unacceptable. The problem is that the historical record does not offer a single example of a country that has moved directly from political instability to limited government. It may well be that first-best is not feasible. Is there a second-best?

In the search for a way forward, Mexico is worthy of greater attention. Plagued after independence by chronic political instability, Mexico’s political institutions progressed in the last hundred years from stable dictatorship to one-party government to become, by the end of the century, an inspiring example of successful transition to electoral democracy. Before the appearance of The Politics of Property Rights, it would have been difficult to draw a valid comparison from the literature. Many understood the significance, but no one had effectively articulated the institutional underpinnings of Mexico’s successful transition to democracy.

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Journal of Economic Literature
The Politics of Property Rights

Journal of Economic Literature
June 2004
Reviewed by Robert H. Bates

Everyone knows that political instability is inimical to economic growth. So what
would be expected of a country in which:

A military insurrection overthrew authoritarian rule;

Supporters of the old regime then staged a counterrevolution, provoking a civil war;

The first two presidents to preside over the subsequent peace were assassinated, as
were their leading military leaders; and The military attempted three times to overthrow the civilian government during its first decade in office…

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