Strong property rights system is a key element for fostering economic growth. Weak property rights are most commonly seen in the developing world, and reverse seems to be the general scenario in the developed world. As more and more people from developing nations are stressing on the need of economic growth and as Nepal is no exception to this, it is crucial that the physical and intellectual property protection be discussed in Nepal as well.
With a score of 4.5 in a scale of zero to ten, Nepal has ranked 97th out of 128 countries in terms of the strength of property rights in this year’s International Property Rights Index (IPRI). The IPRI is an annual publication of the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), a Washington DC-based think tank. In its effort to produce the IPRI, PRA has secured the support of 102 other think tanks and policy organizations in 69 countries involved in research, policy, development, education and promotion of property rights in their countries. In this context, Samriddhi Foundation is the partner think tank in Nepal for PRA and has been proudly releasing the International Property Rights Index – one of the most comprehensive international measurements of property rights around the world – in Nepal since 2012. From measuring the status of 70 countries in the first edition, the IPRI has grown to examine 128 countries in its tenth edition in 2016.
IPRI is a comparative study that aims to quantify the strength of property rights – both physical and intellectual – and to rank countries accordingly. IPRI scores and ranks each country based on 10 variables reflecting the state of its Legal and Political Environment (LP), Physical Property Rights (PPR) and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). In Legal and Political Environment, the sub-categories for evaluation are Judicial Independence, Rule of Law, Political Stability and Control of Corruption. Similarly, in Physical Property Rights, the sub-categories are Protection of Physical Property Rights, Registering Property and Access to Loans. Finally, the sub-categories in Intellectual Property Rights are Protection of Intellectual Property Rights, Patent Protection and Copyright Piracy.
Finland bags the top spot in this year’s index with a score of 8.4 out of 10. Other Scandinavian countries have also performed well with Norway and Sweden ranking and fourth and seventh respectively with a score of 8.3 and 8.1 respectively. Similarly, Denmark bags the 11th place with a score of 7.9. New Zealand (8.3) is the top-scoring country in the combined Asia and Oceana region followed closely by Singapore and Japan (both with 8.1). Western Europe is also well represented in the top 10 with Luxemburg (8.3), Switzerland (8.2), and The Netherlands (8.0). Canada represents North America in the top-scoring group with a score of 8.0. At the bottom of the ranking are Venezuela (2.7), Haiti (2.8), Myanmar (2.8), Bangladesh (2.8), Zimbabwe (3.4), Burundi (3.4), Nigeria (3.6), Moldova (3.7), Pakistan (3.7) and Mauritania (3.7).
Nepal’s IPRI has shown a slight progress this year with a score of 4.5 (compared to a score of 4.2 last year). LP, PPR and IPR have each grown stronger with a score of 3.92, 5.5 and 3.97 this year compared to 3.4, 5.3 and 3.8 last year. With this index, Nepal is still a nation with one of the weakest property rights in the world, landing in the bottom 20 percentile.
This Index is expected to be helpful to politicians, economists, academicians, and entrepreneurs in learning about the necessity of protecting property rights around the world for world-wide economic growth.