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Exclusion versus Governance: Two Strategies for Delineating Property Rights

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  • Smith, Henry E

Abstract

The delineation of property rights can follow two strategies that form the poles of a spectrum. In the exclusion strategy, rough proxies for use allow further individuation of use to be delegated to an owner. In the governance strategy, resource use is measured in terms of individual activities. Each strategy has its own characteristic cost structure. This theory, which is based on proxy measurement, refines the Demsetz thesis to allow for increased use of governance as well as exclusion. The theory also provides testable implications about the direction of expected change in exclusion and governance regimes and shifts among them. The proxy-measurement theory is contrasted with an account that is based on rising resource values inducing more incursion and hence lower exclusion. A primary illustrative application is the rise of the open-field system in England and the Demsetzian puzzle of the open fields both arising from and giving way to more exclusive ownership of parcels. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, Henry E, 2002. "Exclusion versus Governance: Two Strategies for Delineating Property Rights," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 453-487, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:31:y:2002:i:2:p:s453-87
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    Cited by:

    1. Garrouste, Pierre, 2008. "The Handbook of New Institutional Economics, C. Ménard, M.M. Shirley (Eds.), Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. 2005, 884Â +Â xi pp., $199.00, index, ISBN: 10 1-4020-2687-0," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 532-536, August.
    2. J. Amegashie, 2011. "Incomplete property rights and overinvestment," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 37(1), pages 81-95, June.
    3. Lee J. Alston & Edwyna Harris & Bernardo Mueller, 2009. "De Facto and De Jure Property Rights: Land Settlement and Land Conflict on the Australian, Brazilian and U.S. Frontiers," CEPR Discussion Papers 607, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    4. Thomas W. Hazlett, 2008. "Optimal Abolition of FCC Spectrum Allocation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 103-128, Winter.
    5. Brian Lee & Henry Smith, 2012. "The nature of Coasean property," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 59(2), pages 145-155, July.
    6. 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.
    7. Wim van de Griendt, 2004. "A law & economics approach to the study of integrated management regimes of estuaries," Law and Economics 0408002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Lueck, Dean & Miceli, Thomas J., 2007. "Property Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
      • Dean Lueck & Thomas J. Miceli, 2004. "Property Law," Working papers 2004-04, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    9. Amegashie, J.A., 2002. "Incomplete Property Rights and the Optimal Value of an Asset," Working Papers 2002-16, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    10. Bertacchini, Enrico & Grazzini, Jakob & Vallino, Elena, 2013. "Emergence and Evolution of Property Rights: an Agent Based Perspective," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201340, University of Turin.
    11. Larissa Katz, 2011. "The Regulative Function of Property Rights," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 8(3), pages 236-246, September.

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