NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Dean Lueck

Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Program on Economics, Law and the Environment
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721-0023

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2010Large Scale Institutional Changes: Land Demarcation Within the British Empire
with Gary D. Libecap, Trevor O'Grady: w15820
This paper examines the economics of large scale institutional change by studying the adoption of the land demarcation practices within the British Empire during the 17th through 19th Centuries. The advantages of systematic, coordinated demarcation, such as with the rectangular survey, relative to individualized, haphazard demarcation, such as with metes and bounds, for reducing transaction costs were understood by this time and incorporated into British colonial policy. Still, there was considerable variation in the institutions adopted even though that the regions had similar legal structures and immigrant populations. We study the determinants of institutional change by developing an analytical framework, deriving testable implications, and then analyzing a data set that includes U.S...

Published: "Large Scale Institutional Changes: Land Demarcation within the British Empire" with Dean Lueck and Trevor O’Grady, Journal of Law and Economics 2011

May 2009The Demarcation of Land and the Role of Coordinating Institutions
with Gary D. Libecap: w14942
This paper examines the origins and economic effects of the two dominant land demarcation systems: metes and bounds (MB) and the rectangular system (RS). Under MB property is demarcated by its perimeter as indicated by natural features and human structures and linked to surveys within local political jurisdictions. Under RS land demarcation is governed by a common grid with uniform square shapes, sizes, alignment, and geographically-based addresses. In the U.S. MB largely is used in the original 13 states, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The RS is found elsewhere under the Land Ordinance of 1785 that divided federal lands into square-mile sections. We develop an economic framework for examining land demarcation systems and draw predictions. Our empirical analysis focuses on a 39-county area of O...

Published: The Demarcation of Land and the Role of Coordinating Institutions with Dean Lueck, June 2011, Journal of Political Economy

 
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