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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Social Function of Property Rights in Brazil

  • Author(s): Santinoni Vera, Flavia
  • et al.

The increased interest in the study of Law & Economics in Brazil only very recently has opened an important opportunity to discuss with scientific methodology rather than solely using the philosophical traditional legal dialect the effects of abstract concepts which are endlessly debated and have been the cause of legal uncertainty detrimental to development. In this scenario, this paper discusses the effects of the concept "social function" of property rights born in the Brazilian Constitution of 1988. The variation of interpretations of "Social Function of property rights" that has created effects detrimental to the performance of the country's national economy is explored in the text. The paper also discusses the relationship between the social movements (guided by MST) and land owners marked by confrontation as a result of the uncertainty, lack of association of decisions to its effects and the ambiguity of law. Overall, the main objective of the paper is to analyze the different channels through which the three powers view the concept and how this has effected the behavior of economic agents and, indirectly, economic development. The paper also provides a greater analysis of the problems resulting from the current understanding of "productivity". It concludes offering recommendations towards the importance of a more efficient system of property rights in Brazil able to provide order, peace and certainty in the social and economic realms resulting in efficient incentives for the best use of the property.

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