Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-747cfc64b6-rxvp8 Total loading time: 0.167 Render date: 2021-06-15T06:20:50.864Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true }

De jure property rights and state capacity: evidence from land specification in the Boer Republics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2021

Kara Dimitruk
Affiliation:
Department of Economics & LEAP, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
Sophia Du Plessis
Affiliation:
Department of Economics & LEAP, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
Stan Du Plessis
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

We examine the development of de jure property rights to land by assessing how accurately governments recorded borders of property. We use surveys of farm parcels from two historical states, the Republic of the Orange Free State (OFS) and the South African Republic (ZAR), which are in modern-day South Africa, and employ a descriptive analysis to infer how accurately maps represent parcels of property. We argue that differences in state administrative capacity explains differences in map accuracy and therefore the provision of de jure property rights to land. We find that maps of farms in the ZAR, which had lower administrative capacity, tend to be less accurate than maps of farms in the OFS. Comparisons with military maps compiled under a different administration provide evidence that the costs incurred from previous administrations can limit future attempts to accurately record property. The analysis shows how state administrative capacity can facilitate (or hinder) the provision of property rights to land.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Millennium Economics Ltd 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Alston, L. J., Harris, E. and Mueller, B. (2012), ‘The Development of Property Rights on Frontiers: Endowments, Norms, and Politics’, Journal of Economic History, 72(3): 741770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Besley, T. and Ghatak, M. (2010), ‘Property Rights and Economic Development’, in Rodrik, D., and Rosenzweig, M. (eds), The Handbook of Development Economics, vol. 5, Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 45254595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Besley, T. and Persson, T. (2009), ‘The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation and politics’, American Economic Review, 99(4): 12181244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Besley, T. and Persson, T. (2011), Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters, Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Brambor, T., Goenaga, A., Lindvall, J. and Teorell, J. (2020), ‘The Lay of the Land: Information Capacity and the Modern State’, Comparative Political Studies, 53(2): 175213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Braun, L. F. (2005), ‘Spatial Institutionalisation and the Settler State: Survey and Mapping in the Eastern Transvaal, 1852–1905’, South African Historical Journal, 53(1): 146178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Braun, L. F. (2008), The Cadastre and the Colony: Surveying, Territory, and Legibility in the Creation of South Africa, c.1860–1913. PhD Dissertation, Rutgers University.Google Scholar
Braun, L. F. (2015), Colonial Survey and Native Landscapes in Rural South Africa 1850–1913, Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carruthers, J. (2003), ‘Friedrich Jeppe: Mapping the Transvaal, c.. 1850–1899’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 29(4): 955976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Christopher, A. J. (1970), ‘The European Concept of a Farm in Southern Africa’, Historia, 15(2): 9399.Google Scholar
Christopher, A. J. (1983), ‘Official Land Disposal Policies and European Settlement in Southern Africa, 1860–1960’, Journal of Historical Geography, 9(4): 369383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cingolani, L. (2013), ‘The State of State Capacity: A Review of Concepts, Evidence and Measures’ MERIT Working Papers 2013-053, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).Google Scholar
Coase, R. H. (1960), ‘The Problem of Social Cost’, Journal of Law and Economics, 3 (Oct., 1960): 144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cogneau, D., Dupraz, Y. and Mesplé-Somps, S. (2020), ‘Fiscal Capacity and Dualism in Colonial States: The French Empire, 1830–1962’, Working Paper: Halshs-001818700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colson, E. (1971), ‘The Impact of the Colonial Period on the Definition of Land Rights’, in Turner, V. (ed), Colonialism and Africa, 1870–1960, Volume III, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 193215.Google Scholar
de Soto, H. (2000), The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Dincecco, M. and Prado, M. (2012), ‘Warfare, Fiscal Capacity, and Performance’, Journal of Economic Growth, 17 (Sep. 2012): 171203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dye, A. and La Croix, S. (2013), ‘The Political Economy of Land Privatization in Argentina and Australia, 1810–1850: A Puzzle’, Journal of Economic History, 73(4): 901936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dye, A. and La Croix, S. (2021), ‘Institutions for the Taking: Property Rights and the Settlement of the Cape Colony, 1652–1750’, The Economic History Review, 73(1): 3358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gardner, L. (2012), Taxing Colonial Africa: The Political Economy of British Imperialism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Giliomee, H. (1981), ‘Processes in Development in the Southern African Frontier’, in Lamar, H., and Thompson, L. (eds), The Frontier in History: North America and Southern Africa Compared, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 76122.Google Scholar
Gower, J. C. (1975), ‘Generalized Procrustes Analysis’, Psychometrika, 40(1): 3351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gwaindepi, A. and Siebrits, K. (2020), ‘Hit Your Man Where You Can: Taxation Strategies in the Face of Resistance at the British Cape Colony, c.1820 to 1910’, Economic History of Developing Regions, 35(3): 171194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hup, M. (2020), ‘Corvee Labor and State Expansion in Colonial Indonesia’, Working paper.Google Scholar
Jerven, M. (2013), Poor Numbers, Cape Town: UCT Press and Cornell University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnson, N. and Koyama, M. (2014), ‘Tax Farming and the Origins of State Capacity in England and France’, Explorations in Economic History, 51 (Jan. 2014): 120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnson, N. and Koyama, M. (2017), ‘States and Economic Growth: Capacity and Constraints’, Explorations in Economic History, 64 (Apr. 2017): 120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keegan, T. (1987), ‘Dispossession and Accumulation in the South African Interior: The Boers and Tlhaping of Bethulie, 1833–1861’, The Journal of African History, 28(2): 191207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lamoreaux, N. (2011), ‘The Mystery of Property Rights: A U.S. Perspective’, Journal of Economic History, 71(2): 275306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Libecap, G. and Lueck, D. (2011), ‘The Demarcation of Land the Role of Coordinating Property Institutions’, Journal of Political Economy, 119(3): 426467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Libecap, G., Lueck, D. and O'Grady, T. (2011), ‘Large-Scale Institutional Changes: Land Demarcation in the British Empire’, Journal of Law & Economics, 54(1): S295S327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Liebenberg, E. C. (1973). Die Topograpfiese Kartering van Suid-Afrika, 1879–1972: ‘n Histories-Geografiese Ontleding. Master's thesis: University of Stellenbosch.Google Scholar
Liebenberg, E. C. (1997), ‘Mapping British South Africa: The Case of C.S.G.S. 2230’, Imago Mundi, 49 (1997): 129142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Liebenberg, E. C. (2007), ‘The Use of Compilation Maps in the Anglo-Boer War, 1899–1902’, XXIII International Cartographic Conference Proceedings (Moscow, Russia).Google Scholar
Muller, C. F. J. (1993), 500 Years: A History of South Africa, Pretoria: Academica.Google Scholar
North, D. C. (1990), Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ntsebeza, L. and Hall, R. (2007), The Land Question in South Africa: The Challenge of Transformation and Redistribution, Cape Town: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
Nunn, N. and Puga, D. (2012), ‘Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa’, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 94(1): 2036.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pelzer, A. N. (1950), Geskiedenis van di Suid-Afrikaanse Republiek, Kaapstad: Balkema.Google Scholar
Riley, S. J., DeGloria, S. D. and Elliot, R. (1999), ‘A Terrain Ruggedness Index That Quantifies Topographic Heterogeneity’, Intermountain Journal of Science, 5(1–4): 2327.Google Scholar
Stegmann, M. B. and Gomez, D. D. (2002), ‘A Brief Introduction to Statistical Shape Analysis’, WP Informatics and Mathematical Modelling. Technical University of Denmark.Google Scholar
Williams, M. J. (2021), ‘Beyond State Capacity: Bureaucratic Performance, Policy Implementation and Reform’, Journal of Institutional Economics, 17(2): 339357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yoo, D. and Steckel, R. H. (2016), ‘Property Rights and Economic Development: The Legacy of Japanese Colonial Institutions’, Journal of Institutional Economics, 12(3): 623650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

De jure property rights and state capacity: evidence from land specification in the Boer Republics
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

De jure property rights and state capacity: evidence from land specification in the Boer Republics
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

De jure property rights and state capacity: evidence from land specification in the Boer Republics
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *