IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Two Cheers for the Bundle-of-Sticks Metaphor, Three Cheers for Merrill and Smith

  • Robert C. Ellickson
Registered author(s):

    Viewing property rights as a "bundle of sticks" can be descriptively clarifying because the law commonly entitles an owner of a particular resource to split up entitlements in it. Nonetheless, Thomas Merrill and Henry Smith, the most prominent critics of the metaphor, assert that this conception both ignores the existence of various legal constraints on the decomposition of property rights, and also encourages lawmakers to support the excessive splintering of entitlements. These concerns are well-grounded. More controversial are Merrill and Smith's inclinations to equate private property with property generally, to deny that human capital can be characterized as property, and to assert that affirmative duties never attach to property ownership.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 215-222

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:8:y:2011:i:3:p:215-222
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Enterprise Hall, Room 354, 4400 University Drive, 3G4 Fairfax, VA 22030

    Phone: (703) 993-1151
    Fax: 703.993.1133
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:8:y:2011:i:3:p:215-222. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jason Briggeman)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.