Two empirical studies in the current issue of the Cato Journal offer especially worthwhile reads.
The late Bernard Heitger looked at data from different countries from 1975-1995. He found that
compared with the more traditional determinants of economic growth — such as physical and human capital accumulation and the growth rate of the working-age population — the impact of property rights is quite remarkable…. [I]t seems reasonable to classify property rights among the ultimate sources of economic growth
In another article, John Tures finds evidence that economic liberalization reduces (but doesn’t eliminate) conflict among nations.