This study applies extant theories of property rights change to three land tenure systems in Imperial Ethiopia. Two of the areas underwent changes in property rights after experiencing changes in the value of land; one did not. A data set of litigation over land rights is used in conjunction with case studies to understand the mechanisms motivating or impeding property rights change. Amendments to the role of the state are suggested and two conclusions are reached: (1) that movement towards greater specificity of land rights did not always occur; and (2) the changes in property rights that occurred were imposed from above, rather than occurring endogenously. Where property rights changes did not occur, they appear to have been blocked by the state, which was more concerned with political survival than with revenue maximization.

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Post-print Article

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Copyright © 2001 Taylor & Francis Journals.

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DOI: 10.1080/713601100

Full Citation:

Joireman, Sandra F. "Property Rights and the Role of the State: Evidence from the Horn of Africa." Journal of Development Studies 38, no. 1 (2001): 1-36. doi:10.1080/713601100.