We examine how well several institutional- and firm-level factors explain firms' percep- tions of property rights protection. The institutional theories we investigate account for approximately 50% of the country-level variation, indicating that current research addresses first-order factors. Firm-level characteristics, such as legal organization and ownership structure, are comparable with institutional factors in explaining variations in property rights protection. A country's legal origin predicts property rights variation better than its religion, ethnic fractionalization, or natural endowments. However, these results are driven by the inclusion of former Socialist economies in the sample. When we exclude the former Socialist economies, legal origin explains considerably less than ethnic fractionalization does.
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