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Property, Contract, and Verification: The Numerus Clausus Problem and the Divisibility of Rights

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  • Hansmann, Henry
  • Kraakman, Reinier

Abstract

The law of every jurisdiction defines a set of well-recognized forms that property rights can take and restricts the creation of property rights that deviate from those forms. We argue that these restrictions serve not to standardize rights as others have argued but rather to aid verification of the ownership of rights offered for conveyance. We explore the feasible verification rules for property rights and illustrate the relationship between those rules and the structure of rights they support in the principal fields of property, including use rights to real and personal property, security interests, legal entities, and intellectual property. We offer a simple calculus for assessing the efficiency of alternative property rights regimes. We define clearly the difference between property rights and contract rights, clarify the connection between property rights and property rules, and illuminate the limits on specific performance as a contract remedy. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Hansmann, Henry & Kraakman, Reinier, 2002. "Property, Contract, and Verification: The Numerus Clausus Problem and the Divisibility of Rights," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 373-420, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:31:y:2002:i:2:p:s373-420
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Arruñada, Benito, 2016. "How Rome enabled impersonal markets," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 68-84.
    2. Benito Arruñada, 2010. "Institutional Support of the Firm: A Theory of Business Registries," Working Papers 508, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. repec:spr:epolin:v:45:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s40812-017-0087-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Antony Dnes & Dean Lueck, 2009. "Asymmetric Information and the Law of Servitudes Governing Land," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 89-120, January.
    5. Kenneth Ayotte & Patrick Bolton, 2011. "Optimal Property Rights in Financial Contracting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(10), pages 3401-3433.
    6. Benito Arruñada, 2016. "Coase and the departure from property," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Ronald H. Coase, chapter 22, pages 305-319 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Arruñada, Benito, 2017. "Property as sequential exchange: the forgotten limits of private contract," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(04), pages 753-783, December.
    8. Benito Arruñada, 2009. "The law of impersonal transactions," Economics Working Papers 1187, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2010.
    9. Benito Arruñada, 2012. "Property as an economic concept: reconciling legal and economic conceptions of property rights in a Coasean framework," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 59(2), pages 121-144, July.
    10. Benito ArruÒada, 2003. "Property Enforcement as Organized Consent," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 401-444, October.
    11. John Armour & Michael J Whincop, 2005. "The Proprietary Foundations of Corporate Law," Working Papers wp299, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    12. Benito Arruñada & Giorgio Zanarone & Nuno Garoupa, 2017. "Property rights in sequential exchange," Economics Working Papers 1588, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    13. Benito Arruñada, 2018. "Evolving Practice in Land Demarcation," Working Papers 1043, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    14. Benito Arruñada, 2009. "Property titling and conveyancing," Economics Working Papers 1177, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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