Indian reservations are home to some of the nation’s poorest people. According to John Koppisch, a senior editor at Forbes Magazine, explanations often point to “alcoholism, corruption or school drop-out rates… But these are just symptoms.Prosperity is built on property rights.” Reservations often have weak property rights or none at all.
In his latest article, “Why Are Indian Reservations So Poor? A Look At The Bottom 1%,” Koppisch reports that most reservation land is communally owned, and without clear title, Indians cannot establish credit or borrow to start businesses or improve their homes. Without property rights, markets cannot operate and people cannot build wealth.