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Property Rights by Squatting: Land Ownership Risk and Adverse Possession Statutes

Author

Listed:
  • Matthew Baker
  • Thomas Miceli
  • C. F. Sirmans
  • Geoffrey K. Turnbull

Abstract

A fundamental aspect of private property is the right to exclude trespassers or squatters. Nonetheless, in all 50 states a trespasser can acquire ownership by continuously occupying a parcel of land until the statutorily set period of limitations runs out. Although these adverse possession statutes appear to weaken property rights, this paper explains how such limits are valuable to property owners by balancing the risk of claims from past legitimate owners against the cost of expelling future trespassers or squatters. The empirical analysis using data from 46 states provides evidence that is consistent with the theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Baker & Thomas Miceli & C. F. Sirmans & Geoffrey K. Turnbull, 2001. "Property Rights by Squatting: Land Ownership Risk and Adverse Possession Statutes," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(3), pages 360-370.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:77:y:2001:i:3:p:360-370
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Netter, Jeffry M. & Hersch, Philip L. & Manson, Willam D., 1986. "An economic analysis of adverse possession statutes," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 217-228, December.
    2. Miceli, Thomas J. & Sirmans, C. F., 1995. "An economic theory of adverse possession," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 161-173, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bessen James, 2009. "Evaluating the Economic Performance of Property Systems," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(3), pages 1037-1061, December.
    2. Bellemare, Marc F., 2010. "The Productivity Impacts of de Jure and de Facto Land Rights," MPRA Paper 23639, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. Hans P. Binswanger-Mkhize & Camille Bourguignon & Rogier van den Brink, 2009. "Agricultural Land Redistribution : Toward Greater Consensus," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2653, August.
    5. Turnbull Geoffrey K & Salvino Robert F., 2009. "Do Broader Eminent Domain Powers Increase Government Size?," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 785-806, December.
    6. Marc F. Bellemare, 2012. "Insecure Land Rights and Share Tenancy: Evidence from Madagascar," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 88(1), pages 155-180.
    7. Matthew J. Baker & Thomas J. Miceli & C.F. Sirmans, 2008. "An Economic Theory of Mortgage Redemption Laws," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 36(1), pages 31-45, March.
    8. Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 2008. "Squatting, eviction and development," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-15, January.
    9. Thomas J. Miceli & C.F. Sirmans & Geoffrey K. Turnbull, 2009. "Lease Defaults And The Efficient Mitigation Of Damages," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(5), pages 915-930.
    10. Benito Arruñada & Giorgio Zanarone & Nuno Garoupa, 2017. "Property rights in sequential exchange," Economics Working Papers 1588, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    11. Marc F. Bellemare, 2013. "The Productivity Impacts of Formal and Informal Land Rights: Evidence from Madagascar," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 89(2), pages 272-290.
    12. Thomas Miceli & C. Sirmans, 2005. "Time-Limited Property Rights and Investment Incentives," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 405-412, December.
    13. Geoffrey Turnbull, 2005. "The Investment Incentive Effects of Land Use Regulations," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 31(4), pages 357-395, December.
    14. Miceli, Thomas J. & Munneke, Henry J. & Sirmans, C.F. & Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 2011. "A question of title: Property rights and asset values," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 499-507.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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