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The Meaning of Property Rights: Law versus Economics?

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  • Daniel H. Cole
  • Peter Z. Grossman
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    Abstract

    Property rights are fundamental to economic analysis. There is, however, no consensus in the economic literature about what property rights are. Economists define them variously and inconsistently, sometimes in ways that deviate from the conventional understandings of legal scholars and judges. This article explores ways in which definitions of property rights in the economic literature diverge from conventional legal understandings, and how those divergences can create interdisciplinary confusion and bias economic analyses. Indeed, some economists’ idiosyncratic definitions of property rights, if used to guide policy, could lead to suboptimal economic outcomes.

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    File URL: http://le.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/78/3/317
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 78 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 317-330

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:78:y:2002:i:3:p:317-330

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

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    Cited by:
    1. Calbay, Arman, 2006. "Property Rights and Theory of Value," MPRA Paper 25827, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 31 Jul 2009.
    2. Wim van de Griendt, 2004. "A law & economics approach to the study of integrated management regimes of estuaries," Law and Economics 0408002, EconWPA.
    3. Andrea Asoni, 2008. "Protection Of Property Rights And Growth As Political Equilibria," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 953-987, December.
    4. Shi, Tian, 2006. "Simplifying complexity: Rationalising water entitlements in the Southern Connected River Murray System, Australia," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 229-239, December.
    5. Howells, John, 2005. "Are Patents used to Suppress Useful Technology?," Working Papers 2005-10, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Management.
    6. Gerber, Jean-David & Knoepfel, Peter & Nahrath, Stéphane & Varone, Frédéric, 2009. "Institutional Resource Regimes: Towards sustainability through the combination of property-rights theory and policy analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 798-809, January.
    7. A. Nicita & M. Rizzolli & H. Smith, 2012. "Exploring Coase’s world: an introduction," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 59(2), pages 111-120, July.
    8. Kim, Annette M., 2007. "North versus South: The Impact of Social Norms in the Market Pricing of Private Property Rights in Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2079-2095, December.

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