Land Ownership and Economic Performance

Project leader

Leonid Polishchuk, Professor

Project participants

William Pyle, Professor, Middlebury College

Egor Malkov, Junior Researcher, Higher School of Economics

Project period

September 2014 – December 2015

Project description

According to the famous dictum by De Soto, land ownership improves economic performance, especially since it facilitates access to finance. We argue that the payoff to land ownership is contingent on the quality of surrounding institutions, such as the rule of law and protection of property rights. When surrounding institutions are of inferior quality, land ownership could make matters worse and turn out to be a net liability. We test this hypothesis on Russian industrial firms using survey data, and show that indeed under poor investment climate the costs of land ownership could exceed its benefits.


XVI April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, 7–10 April, 2015. Presentation "Costs and Benefits of Private Ownership: The Case of land Ownership by Russian Firms" by P. Dower. E. Malkov, L. Polishchuk, and W. Pyle.