The Journal of Economic History


The Decline of Property Rights in Man in Thailand, 1800–1913

David Feenya1

a1 Professor of Economics and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4M4.

Like many land-abundant, labor-scarce economies, Thailand had a well-developed system of property rights in man. Over the nineteenth century corvée and slavery were abolished and replaced by military conscription, a head tax, and more precise property rights in land. Concomitant trends included extensive commercialization, the growth of international trade, imperialist threats to Thai sovereignty, and the growth of a centralized unitary state. Both domestic and international political motives influenced monarchs in the abolition of human-property rights. Economic change greatly facilitated these institutional changes.