August 10, 2018 Print

Working with 113 think tanks around the world — including 85 Atlas Network partners — the Property Rights Alliance launched the 2018 International Property Rights Index (IPRI) on August 8. Covering 98 percent of world GDP and 93 percent of the world population, the Index measures the strength of physical property rights, intellectual property rights, and the legal and political environments that contain them in 125 countries.

“[Property rights are] the most consequential disparity affecting the world today,” said Lorenzo Montanari, executive director of Property Rights Alliance. “Property rights determine what you can do with your assets. Inadequate protections limit what people do with their mind, with their hands, and how they relate to one another.”

The index finds that only 13 percent of the world — 758 million people — enjoy adequate protections for their artistic works, inventions, and private property, while six billion people suffer from inadequate protection of their property rights. Property rights are also restricted by gender: several countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa continue to limit property ownership based solely on gender.


Several countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa continue to limit property ownership based solely on gender.

“Weak property rights systems not only blind economies from realizing the immense hidden capital of their entrepreneurs, but they withhold them from other benefits as evidenced through the powerful correlations in this year’s Index: human freedom, economic liberty, perception of corruption, civic activism, and even the ability to be connected to the internet, to name a few,” said renowned economist Hernando de Soto.

The year marks the IPRI’s 12th edition and the first time it has used the Patent Rights Index developed by Professor Walter Park at American University. This year’s IPRI also saw the United States fall from first in the world for intellectual property protections to second. The country taking its place is Finland, which passed New Zealand to become first in the index overall.


Finland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Australia, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Canada were the top ten performers in this year's IPRI.

The 2018 IPRI includes correlations with no fewer than 23 economic and social indicators, including 9 specific to e-commerce, which displayed some of the strongest relationships the Index has ever discovered — suggesting rights play an important role in addressing internet access issues. The index more broadly demonstrates the direct correlation between property rights and various aspects of economic development.

“The most robust IPRI ratings in each category were Global Entrepreneurship (GEI), Network Readiness (NRI), Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Civic Activism, Human Development (HDI), number of researchers in R&D, and Political Development Index (PDI),” said Montanari. “The correlations affirm the indispensable role classical liberal thinkers ascribe to private property rights. They allow business owners, inventors, artists, and those outside the formal economy to have the true value of their assets realized, allowing them to act in their best interests — economies flourish, governance improves, and the environment benefits when property rights are clear, accessible, and enforced.”

The publication of the index this year accompanies the publication of six case studies — five of which featuring Atlas Network partners:

Read the 2018 International Property Rights Index here.

Atlas Network partners of the index:

  • Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization, Afghanistan
  • Foundation for Economic Freedom, Albania
  • Fundación Atlas 1853, Argentina
  • Fundación Bases, Argentina
  • Fundación Liberdad y Progreso, Argentina
  • Fundación Libertad, Argentina
  • Institute for Public Affairs, Australia
  • Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, Australia
  • Austrian Economics Center, Austria
  • The Nassau Institute, Bahamas
  • CPA, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Multi, Bosnia and Herzegovia
  • Populi, Bolivia
  • Instituto Liberdade, Brazil
  • Centro Mackenzie de Liberdade Econômica, Brazil
  • Institute for Market Economics, Bulgaria
  • Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Canada
  • Macdonald-Laurier Institute for Public Policy, Canada
  • Fundación para el Progreso, Chile
  • Libertad y Desarrollo, Chile
  • Instituto Res Publica, Chile
  • Cathay Institute of Public Affairs, China
  • Instituto de Ciencia Politica, Colombia
  • Asociación de Consumidores Libres, Costa Rica
  • IDEAS, Costa Rica
  • Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Politica, Ecuador
  • The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies, Egypt
  • Institute for Economic Studies Europe (IES), France
  • New Economic School, Georgia
  • IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Ghana
  • Greek Liberties Monitor (GLM), Greece
  • KEFiM - Center for Liberal Studies "Markos Dragoumis", Greece
  • CIEN, Guatemala
  • Fundación Eléutera, Honduras
  • The Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong
  • Centre for Civil Society, India
  • Centre for Policy Research, India
  • India Institute, India
  • Center for Indonesian Policy Studies, Indonesia
  • Hibernia Forum, Ireland
  • Edmund Burke Institute, Ireland
  • Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, Israel
  • Think-in, Italy
  • Istituto Bruno Leoni, Italy
  • Institute for Development and Economic Affairs (IDEA), Kazakhstan
  • Central Asian Free Market Institute, Kyrgyz Republic
  • Lebanese Institute for Market Studies, Lebanon
  • OHRID Institute for Economic Strategies and International Affairs, Macedonia
  • Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Malaysia
  • IMCO, Mexico
  • Instituto de Pensamiento Estratégico Ágora A.C. (IPEA), Mexico
  • The Arab Center for Scientific Research and Humane Studies, Morocco
  • Samriddhi Foundation, Nepal
  • New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, New Zealand
  • Civita, Norway
  • Alternate Solutions Institute, Pakistan
  • Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME), Pakistan
  • Pal-Think for Strategic Studies, Palestinian Territories
  • Fundación Libertad, Panama
  • Contribuyentes por Respeto, Peru
  • Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Peru
  • Instituto de Libre Empresa, Peru
  • Foundation for Economic Freedom, Philippines
  • Forum Obywatelskiego Rozwoju, (FOR) Poland
  • Warsaw Enterprise Institute, Poland
  • Stowarzyszenie KoLiber, Poland
  • Center for Institutional Analysis and Development (CADI), Romania
  • Libek, Serbia
  • F. A. Hayek Foundation, Slovakia
  • The Free Market Foundation, South Africa
  • Civismo, Spain
  • Foro Regulación Inteligente, Spain
  • Advocata Institute, Sri Lanka
  • Timbro, Sweden
  • World Taxpayers Associations (WTA), Sweden
  • Liberales Institute, Switzerland
  • Association for Liberal Thinking, Turkey
  • Freedom Research Association, Turkey
  • Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo, Uruguay
  • Geneva Network, UK
  • Institute for Economic Affairs, UK
  • Adam Smith Institute (ASI), UK
  • Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation, Ukraine
  • Acton Institute, USA
  • Center for the Dissemination of Economic Knowledge (CEDICE), Venezuela

The full list of Property Rights Alliance partners contributing to the IPRI.