Washington International Law Journal


Jianlin Chen


Conventional discourses on the perils of weak property rights vis-à-vis government takings have failed to account for and respond to the rent-seeking and inefficiency problems of government actions. Singapore, with its broad takings powers, coupled with express undercompensation, has not suffered from the predicted widespread rent-seeking and inefficiency. This case study of Singapore from a givings perspective demonstrates the importance of imposing a fair charge on the various kinds of givings in curbing rent-seeking and inefficiency. There are also additional benefits of having a healthy fiscal budget and more equitable taxation arising from Singapore’s givings regime. The key normative implication is that an equal, if not greater, emphasis has to be placed on the givings aspect of the equation, whether in dealing with the problems of rent-seeking and inefficiency or promoting better governance and fiscal policies.

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