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Politics and Property Rights

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  • Kantor, Shawn Everett

Abstract

After the American Civil War, agricultural reformers in the South called for an end to unrestricted grazing of livestock on unfenced land. They advocated the stock law, which required livestock owners to fence in their animals, arguing that the existing system (in which farmers built protective fences around crops) was outdated and inhibited economic growth. The reformers steadily won their battles, and by the end of the century the range was on the way to being closed. In this original study, Kantor uses economic analysis to show that, contrary to traditional historical interpretation, this conflict was centered on anticipated benefits from fencing livestock rather than on class, cultural, or ideological differences. Kantor proves that the stock law brought economic benefits; at the same time, he analyzes why the law's adoption was hindered in many areas where it would have increased wealth. This argument illuminates the dynamics of real-world institutional change, where transactions are often costly and where some inefficient institutions persist while others give way to economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Kantor, Shawn Everett, 1998. "Politics and Property Rights," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226423753, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:bkecon:9780226423753
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    Cited by:

    1. Hanisch, Markus & Beckmann, Volker & Boger, Silke & Brem, Markus, 2002. "In Search of the Market: Lessons from Analyzing Agricultural Transition in Central and Eastern Europe," 2002 International Congress, August 28-31, 2002, Zaragoza, Spain 24800, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. 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.

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