NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Property Rights Protections Continue to Decline

March 29, 2011

According to the 2011 International Property Rights Index, overall the United States declined to 18th place in the world (from 16th in 2010 and 14th in 2007, when the Index was originally created), losing out to top-ranked Finland, says Marc Scribner, managing editor of

  • The biggest contributor to the United States' reduced standing was in the physical property rights category (real property), which accounted for nearly half of the year-over-year decline in points.
  • The variables for this category are protection of physical property rights, property registration and access to loans.
  • It is here where one might be surprised by some of the countries who rank ahead of the United States (ranked 25th) in terms of real property rights: Bahrain (5th), Saudi Arabia (8th), Oman (9th-tie), Botswana (21st-tie) and Tunisia (21st-tie).

The United States is still near the top when it comes to intellectual property protection, which in part saves it from even poorer rankings.  But (real) property rights are what ground all of our rights -- indeed, well-defined property rights are a prerequisite to any market-oriented liberal democracy.  It is time for Americans to stop taking such a passive view when it comes to their fundamental individual right to hold and transfer private property as they see fit, says Scribner.

Source: Marc Scribner, "U.S. Property Rights Protections Continue to Decline,", March 22, 2011.

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