Private Property Rights, Investment Patterns, and Asset Structure


Corresponding author: Zhiyong An, School of Public Economics & Public Administration, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Shanghai 200433, China. E-mail:


The right to private property was first written into the Constitution of the People's Republic of China in March 2004. This study takes advantage of the 2004 amendment and uses a difference-in-differences approach to empirically test the impact of private property rights security on investment patterns and thereby on asset structure. Employing the Chinese Industrial Enterprises Database from 2000 to 2007 to implement the analysis, we find that private property rights security has not only led enterprises to boost investment in both fixed assets and intangible assets but also induced them to allocate available resources more towards intangible assets. We address two potential concerns about our empirical design.