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Property Rights by Squatting: Land Ownership Risk and Adverse Possession Statutes

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Author Info

  • Matthew Baker
  • Thomas Miceli
  • C. F. Sirmans
  • Geoffrey K. Turnbull

Abstract

A fundamental aspect of private property is the right to exclude trespassers or squatters. Nonetheless, in all 50 states a trespasser can acquire ownership by continuously occupying a parcel of land until the statutorily set period of limitations runs out. Although these adverse possession statutes appear to weaken property rights, this paper explains how such limits are valuable to property owners by balancing the risk of claims from past legitimate owners against the cost of expelling future trespassers or squatters. The empirical analysis using data from 46 states provides evidence that is consistent with the theory.

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File URL: http://le.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/77/3/360
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Land Economics.

Volume (Year): 77 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 360-370

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:77:y:2001:i:3:p:360-370

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Web page: http://le.uwpress.org/

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Cited by:
  1. Matthew J. Baker & Thomas J. Miceli & C. F. Sirmans, 2006. "An Economic Theory of Mortgage Redemption Laws," Working papers 2006-25, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  2. Thomas Miceli & C. Sirmans, 2005. "Time-Limited Property Rights and Investment Incentives," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 405-412, December.
  3. Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 2008. "Squatting, eviction and development," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-15, January.
  4. Geoffrey Turnbull, 2005. "The Investment Incentive Effects of Land Use Regulations," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 357-395, December.
  5. Hans P. Binswanger-Mkhize & Camille Bourguignon & Rogier van den Brink, 2009. "Agricultural Land Redistribution : Toward Greater Consensus," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2653, January.
  6. Thomas J. Miceli & Henry J. Munneke & C. F. Sirmans & Geoffrey K. Turnbull, 2008. "A Question of Title: Property Rights and Asset Values," Working papers 2008-32, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  7. Bellemare, Marc F., 2010. "The Productivity Impacts of de Jure and de Facto Land Rights," MPRA Paper 23639, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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