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Transaction Costs and the Value of Mining Claims

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  • David Gerard

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between transaction costs and the value of full title to mining claims staked under the 1872 Mining Law. Miners can either acquire full title to their claims (known as a mineral patent) or mine unpatented claims. The costs of enforcing claim rights is lower when the claimant holds full title, but the patenting process is costly. The decline in claim disputes after the turn of the century reduced the value of full title, and the demand for patents decreased. An analysis of data from 12 western states for the period 1882± 1932 is consistent with this argument.

Suggested Citation

  • David Gerard, 2001. "Transaction Costs and the Value of Mining Claims," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(3), pages 371-384.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:77:y:2001:i:3:p:371-384
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lueck, Dean, 1995. "The Rule of First Possession and the Design of the Law," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 393-436, October.
    2. Hausman, Jerry & Hall, Bronwyn H & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 909-938, July.
    3. Anderson, Terry L & Hill, Peter J, 1975. "The Evolution of Property Rights: A Study of the American West," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 163-179, April.
    4. Alston, Lee J & Libecap, Gary D & Schneider, Robert, 1996. "The Determinants and Impact of Property Rights: Land Titles on the Brazilian Frontier," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 25-61, April.
    5. Feder, Gershon & Feeny, David, 1991. "Land Tenure and Property Rights: Theory and Implications for Development Policy," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 135-153, January.
    6. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-937, October.
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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. Gerard, David, 1998. "The development of first-possession rules in US mining, 1872-1920: theory, evidence, and policy implications," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 251-264, December.
    3. Libecap, Gary D., 2007. "The Assignment of Property Rights on the Western Frontier: Lessons for Contemporary Environmental and Resource Policy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 257-291, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q31 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices

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