Things Fall Apart: The Illegitimacy of Property Rights in the Context of Past Property Theft

Past property theft is often a volatile political issue that has threatened to destabilize many nascent democracies. How does a transitional state avoid present-day property-related disobedience when a significant number of people believe that the current property distribution is illegitimate because of past property theft? The article describes three ways a state can achieve stability when faced with an illegitimate property distribution: by using its coercive powers, by attempting to change people’s beliefs about the legitimacy of the property distribution, or by enacting a Legitimacy Enhancing Compensation Program (LECP), which strengthens citizens’ belief that they ought to comply with the law.