Cross-Cultural Correlates of the Ownership of Private Property

Social Science Research Vol/Iss. 21(1) Elsevier Amsterdam Published In Pages: 57-83
By Rudmin, Floyd Webster


Certain characteristics of societies will be significantly correlated in the same direction with both Simmons' (137) and Murdock's (1967) measures of private property ownership.


The 87 social variables used in the present test were coded by Simmons and were found to be significantly and reliably correlated with Murdock's measures of similar variables (20 of Simmons' variables were not correlated with Murdock's). Of the 87 variables, 21 variables were significantly correlated in some way with the private ownership of property. The 17 significant positive predictors of private property are permanent residence, agriculture, the use of grain for food, having a constant food supply, domesticated animals, slavery, debt relations, trade, money, government by council, warfare, codified laws, the authority of judges, patrilocal residence, castes and classes, plutocracy, and ceremony and ritual. The four significant negative predictors of private property are communal food sharing, marriage by capture, exposure of the dying, and abandoning the house of the dead.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Kendall CorrelationSupport for 21 of the 87 variables - see note for directionsp < 0.05 for 21 variablesMultiple r valuesUNKNOWN