Leah Kral

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2006


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Kent Moors

Committee Member

John Sawicki


Caribbean, economic development, international development, Jamaica, land tenure, property rights


Emerging research suggests that property rights play a significant role in the economic and social development of nations. To test this proposition, this study examines the case of Jamaica and whether there is a relationship between property rights and development. In order to carry out this investigation, this study gathers and analyzes existing research to:

1. define the extent that Jamaicans lack property rights and how this affects their everyday quality of life and vulnerability to poverty;

2. examine the relationship between the absence of property rights and underdevelopment; and

3. explore how the current international and local Jamaican policy environment is positioned to address an absence of property rights.

This research confirms that there is a significant proportion of Jamaicans who do not have access to property rights, that this is related to social and economic underdevelopment, and that the international and local policy environment does not sufficiently address the absence of property rights. As demonstrated by the case of Jamaica, development approaches and Government of Jamaica policy may need to be adjusted to include property rights.

This research involves four stages. Chapter Two provides an overview of the literature related to the study of property rights and development. Chapter Three estimates the extent of the absence of property rights in Jamaica and elaborates how this affects everyday quality of life regarding housing, work, security, and public infrastructure. Chapter Four explores the connection between Jamaica's lack of property rights and underdevelopment. Chapter Five examines the international and local policy environment to better understand the official response to the absence of property rights. Finally, the research concludes with policy recommendations for the Government of Jamaica, to establish a task force charged with property rights reform, to transform the political patronage system, and to creatively seek resources, funding and partnerships from donor nations and organizations.