Economic Analysis of Property Law

Steven Shavell

NBER Working Paper No. 9695
Issued in May 2003
NBER Program(s):   LE

This part deals with the basic elements of property law. I begin in chapter 7 by examining the fundamental question of what justifies the social institution of property, that is, the rationale for the rights that constitute what we commonly call ownership. I also discuss examples of the emergence of property rights. Then I consider a number of important issues about property rights. In chapter 8, I inquire about the division of property rights (property rights may be divided contemporaneously, over time, and according to contingency). In chapter 9, I study a variety of issues about the acquisition and transfer of property, including the discovery of unowned or lost property, registration systems for transfer of property, and the transfer of property at death. In chapter 10, I investigate externalities' and property -- problems concerning cooperation and conflict in the use of property, together with the resolution of such problems through bargaining and legal rules. In chapter 11, I discuss public property; here I address the question of why the state should own property, and also the manner of state acquisition of property through purchase or by the exercise of powers of eminent domain. Finally, in chapter 12, I analyze the special topic of intellectual property.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9695

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