Friday, May 07, 2004

Virtuous Cycles

There is increasing evidence that property rights are the most important basis of economic development. Surprise. Solow's 1956 paper still gets a lot of play but my undergrads are consistently reminded that technological advance does not descend on us spontaneously.

Indeed, there is increasing evidence for a virtuous cycle, whereby prosperity and property rights reinforce each other and co-evolve. This is probably the best explanation for our long-term increasing affluence, longevity, etc. The latest Cato Journal features yet another contribution to these ideas, by Bernard Heitger.

And the news is even better. The latest Journal of Economic Literature includes a survey by Brian Copeland and M. Scott Taylor which demonstrates that we also get more concern and care for the environment along the way. Higher incomes are also good for the environment.

What's not to like?