This book explores the political process by which property rights are defined and enforced in two traditional states in colonial Ghana. The case studies within the book 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 of the transformation of property rights systems. The remaining empirical chapters refine this theory through a detailed analysis of the transformation of property rights within an African context. These chapters draw explicitly on rational choice theories to analyse indigenous actors' attempts to redefine and enforce property rights to land by 'reinventing' the traditions of their respective communities. These theories help to understand why property rights systems across Africa remain fluid and insecure.
• Focuses on the politics (versus economics) of property rights • Employs an empirical application of rational choice theories • Bases work on political biographies
Series editors' preface; Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; Part I. The Institutions of the Colonial State: 2. The logic of indirect rule; Part II. The Reinvention of Tradition: the Evolution of Property Rights Under Indirect Rule: 3. Institutional failure in the Ga state; 4. Institutional creation in Akyem Abuakwa: the politics of property rights; Part III. The Transition to Independent Government: 5. Redefining the institutions of central government: the writing of the Coussey Constitution; 6. The return to the traditional state; 7. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.