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The Economics of Desecration: Flag Burning and Related Activities

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  • Rasmusen, Eric

Abstract

When a symbol is desecrated, the desecrator obtains benefits while other people incur costs. Negative externalities are intrinsic to desecration, suggesting a case for government regulation if the costs exceed the benefits. The case for restrictions is especially strong because of the impracticality of Coasean bargaining and the possibility of efficient lawbreaking. In addition, desecration reduces the incentive for the creation and maintenance of symbols, which, like other goods, need property-rights protection for efficient production. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

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  • Rasmusen, Eric, 1998. "The Economics of Desecration: Flag Burning and Related Activities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 245-269, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:27:y:1998:i:2:p:245-69
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/468021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven Shavell, 1981. "The Social versus the Private Incentive to Bring Suit in a Costly Legal System," NBER Working Papers 0741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hylton, Keith N., 1990. "The influence of litigation costs on deterrence under strict liability and under negligence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 161-171, September.
    3. Png, I. P. L., 1987. "Litigation, liability, and incentives for care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 61-85.
    4. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye, 1988. "Suing Solely to Extract a Settlement Offer," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 437-450, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Rushton, 2011. "Artistic Freedom," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Dhammika Dharmapala & Richard H. McAdams, 2005. "Words That Kill? An Economic Model of the Influence of Speech on Behavior (with Particular Reference to Hate Speech)," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, pages 93-136.
    3. Dhammika Dharmapala & Richard H. McAdams, 2003. "Words that Kill? Economic Perspectives on Hate Speech and Hate Crimes," Working papers 2003-05, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

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