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Economics of Property Law

Edited by Richard A. Epstein, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution and Visiting Professor of Law, New York University Law School, US
This important volume gives a comprehensive overview of the economic foundations of private property law. Beginning with economic and philosophical accounts of the origins of property, the authoritative selection of articles traces the evolution of both private and common property, establishing how they coexist within a mature property rights system. Particular attention is directed towards the regulation of specific types of commons such as pastures, streets and fisheries. The study also examines the rules that govern the acquisition, protection and transfer of private property as part of a coherent system of property rights.
Extent: 584 pp
Hardback Price: $308.00 Web: $277.20
Publication Date: 2007
ISBN: 978 1 84720 114 0
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Law and Economics
  • Public Choice Theory
  • Law - Academic
  • Law and Economics
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Choice
This important volume gives a comprehensive overview of the economic foundations of private property law. Beginning with economic and philosophical accounts of the origins of property, the authoritative selection of articles traces the evolution of both private and common property, establishing how they coexist within a mature property rights system. Particular attention is directed towards the regulation of specific types of commons such as pastures, streets and fisheries. The study also examines the rules that govern the acquisition, protection and transfer of private property as part of a coherent system of property rights.
‘. . . an important anthology that will interest and stimulate academics and students to think more theoretically and broadly about the resources that surround us.’
– Jacinta Ruru, New Zealand Law Journal

‘Property lies at the foundations of all economic organization. Property theory in the past thirty years has blossomed and yielded rich fruits for those seeking a deeper understanding of the relationship between law, economics and society. Much of this intellectual achievement is due to the restless curiosity, creativity and sheer firepower of Richard Epstein. His new collection of readings in the modern economic analysis of property gathers together seminal contributions to the art, drawn from a wide range of viewpoints, and offering many surprising perspectives. Epstein’s magisterial survey essay that heads the collection itself gives new insights into how property institutions create systems of exclusion and governance across time and space, allowing separations and co-operations between individuals and so expanding the reach of human relationships and creativities. Critics of property institutions also find a place in this collection, pointing to the deformities and inequalities that can result from property powers. The twenty-two essays range across fields of urgent contemporary significance including commons regulation, environmental control, aboriginal titles, and intellectual property. Special mention must be made of Epstein’s tongue-in-cheek study of allocation of car parking places in wintry Chicago, a metaphor for the inventiveness of human society in constructing new forms of property. This is no mundane collection of no-longer-read classics. It is a thesaurus of ideas that cannot be missed.'
– Joshua Getzler, University of Oxford, UK
22 articles, dating from 1967 to 2002
Contributors include: J. Buchanan, H. Demsetz, T. Eggertsson, J.W. Harris, T.W. Merrill, F. Michelman, C.M. Rose, S. Rose-Ackerman, B. Rudden
Contents:

Acknowledgements

Introduction Richard A. Epstein

PART I PHILOSOPHICAL PRELIMINARIES
1. Harold Demsetz (1967), ‘Toward a Theory of Property Rights’
2. Frank I. Michelman (1982), ‘Ethics, Economics, and the Law of Property’
3. J.W. Harris (1996), ‘Who Owns My Body’

PART II THE COMMONS
4. Peder Andersen (1983), ‘“On Rent of Fishing Grounds”: A Translation of Jens Warming’s 1911 Article, with an Introduction’
5. Barry C. Field (1989), ‘The Evolution of Property Rights’
6. Clifford G. Holderness (1989), ‘The Assignment of Rights, Entry Effects, and the Allocation of Resources’
7. Robert C. Ellickson (1989), ‘A Hypothesis of Wealth-Maximizing Norms: Evidence from the Whaling Industry’
8. Thráinn Eggertsson (1992), ‘Analyzing Institutional Successes and Failures: A Millennium of Common Mountain Pastures in Iceland’
9. Henry E. Smith (2000), ‘Semicommon Property Rights and Scattering in the Open Fields’
10. James M. Buchanan and Yong J. Yoon (2000), ‘Symmetric Tragedies: Commons and Anticommons’
11. Gary D. Libecap and James L. Smith (2002), ‘The Economic Evolution of Petroleum Property Rights in the United States’
12. Richard A. Epstein (2002), ‘The Allocation of the Commons: Parking on Public Roads’

PART III PRIVATE PROPERTY: ACQUISITION
13. Carol M. Rose (1985), ‘Possession as the Origin of Property’
14. John Umbeck (1977), ‘The California Gold Rush: A Study of Emerging Property Rights’
15. Robert C. Ellickson (1986), ‘Adverse Possession and Perpetuities Law: Two Dents in the Libertarian Model of Property Rights’

PART IV PRIVATE PROPERTY: PROTECTION
16. Thomas W. Merrill (1985), ‘Trespass, Nuisance, and the Costs of Determining Property Rights’
17. Richard A. Epstein (1997), ‘A Clear View of The Cathedral: The Dominance of Property Rules’
18. Elizabeth Brubaker (1998), ‘The Common Law and the Environment: The Canadian Experience’

PART V PRIVATE PROPERTY: DISPOSITION
19. Susan Rose-Ackerman (1985), ‘Inalienability and the Theory of Property Rights’
20. Clifford G. Holderness (1985), ‘A Legal Foundation for Exchange’
21. Bernard Rudden (1987), ‘Economic Theory v. Property Law: The Numerus Clausus Problem’
22. Richard A. Epstein (1988), ‘Covenants and Constitutions’

Name Index