"...Firmin-Sellers has written an interesting book that will please those who subscribe to a revisionist version of rational-choice theory....All readers will benefit from her thoughtful and well-researched exposition of the evolution of property rights in the Gold Coast." Robert Fatton, Jr., American Political Science
The Transformation of Property Rights in the Gold Coast: An Empirical Study Applying Rational Choice Theoryby Kathryn Firmin-Sellers
One of Africa's greatest tragedies is its apparent inability to take advantage of the continent's abundant natural resources. While African countries constantly battle famine and poverty, only one fifth of the continent's 2.5 billion acres of arable land is cultivated. Although social scientists cite myriad reasons for this tragedy, the underlying and exacerbating factor is the nature of African land tenure. Throughout Africa, property rights to land are fluid and insecure. The result is that the farmer or entrepreneur who claims land under one property rights system is left uncertain when or if others will challenge his claim.
The Transformation of Property Rights in the Gold Coast explores the complex political process by which property rights are defined and enforced in two traditional states in colonial Ghana. The case studies ask how colonial institutions transformed indigenous political and economic life; and how colonization and decolonization affected prospects for future economic development and stability in Africa.
The introductory chapter outlines a theory for the transformation of property rights. The remaining chapters apply this formal theory through an empirical analysis of the transformation of property rights within an African context. These chapters draw explicitly on rational choice theories to analyze indigenous actors' attempts to redefine and enforce property rights to land by "reinventing" the traditions of their respective communities. These theories help to explain why property rights systems across Africa remain fluid and insecure.
- Cambridge University Press
- Publication date:
- Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions Series
- Product dimensions:
- 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.51(d)
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