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Costly Enforcement of Property Rights and the Coase Theorem

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  • Alex Robson

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  • Stergios Skaperdas

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Abstract

We examine a setting in which property rights are initially ambiguously defined. Whether the parties go to court to remove the ambiguity or bargain and settle privately, they incur enforcement costs. When the parties bargain, a version of the Coase theorem holds. Despite the additional costs of going to court, other ex post inefficiencies, and the absence of incomplete information, however, going to court may be an equilibrium or ex ante Pareto-superior over settlement; this is especially true in dynamic settings whereby a court decision saves on future enforcement costs. When the parties do not negotiate and go to court the Coase theorem ceases to hold, and a simple rule for the initial assignment of rights maximizes net surplus.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Robson & Stergios Skaperdas, 2005. "Costly Enforcement of Property Rights and the Coase Theorem," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2005-455, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2005-455
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/econ/wp455.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Julia Hiscock & David E. Hojman, 2004. "Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Coase Theorem Failures in English Summer Cultural Events: The Case of Sidmouth International Festival," Research Papers 200406, University of Liverpool Management School.
    2. Stéphane Gonzalez & Alain Marciano, 2017. "De nouveaux éclairages sur le théorème de Coase et la vacuité du cœur," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 127(4), pages 579-600.
    3. McBride, Michael & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2014. "Conflict, settlement, and the shadow of the future," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 75-89.
    4. Ian A. MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf, 2016. "Caps on Coasean transfers," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 566-584.
    5. Stergios Skaperdas & Samarth Vaidya, 2012. "Persuasion as a contest," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 51(2), pages 465-486, October.
    6. Vaidya, Samarth, 2005. "Corruption in the media's gaze," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 667-687, September.
    7. Jean Paul Chavas, 2015. "Coase Revisited: Economic Efficiency under Externalities, Transaction Costs, and Nonconvexity," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 171(4), pages 709-734, December.
    8. Wohlschlegel, Ansgar, 2014. "The Appeals Process and Incentives to Settle," MPRA Paper 59424, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Jia, Hao & Skaperdas, Stergios & Vaidya, Samarth, 2013. "Contest functions: Theoretical foundations and issues in estimation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 211-222.
    10. Erik O. Kimbrough & Kevin Laughren & Roman Sheremeta, 2017. "War and Conflict in Economics: Theories, Applications, and Recent Trends," Discussion Papers dp17-10, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    11. Madhav Aney, 2015. "Inefficiency in the shadow of unobservable reservation payoffs," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(4), pages 833-859, April.
    12. Ian A. MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf, 2014. "Coasean Bargaining in the Presence of Pigouvian Taxation: Revisiting the Buchanan-Stubblebine-Turvey Theorem," Discussion Papers Series 515, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    13. Noriaki Matsushima & Ryusuke Shinohara, 2015. "Pre-negotiation commitment and internalization in public good provision through bilateral negotiations," ISER Discussion Paper 0948r, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University, revised Aug 2017.
    14. Vaidya, Samarth, 2001. "Analyzing Corruption Possibilities in the Gaze of the Media," WIDER Working Paper Series 030, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. MacKenzie, Ian A. & Ohndorf, Markus, 2013. "Restricted Coasean bargaining," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 296-307.
    16. Alex Robson, 2014. "Transaction costs can encourage Coasean bargaining," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 539-549, September.
    17. Osório-Costa, António M., 2015. "Argumentation Quantity and Quality: A Litigation Success Function," MPRA Paper 63275, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. E. Guzzini & A. Palestrini, 2012. "Coase theorem and exchangeable rights in non-cooperative games," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 83-100, February.
    19. Stergios Skaperdas, 2006. "Bargaining Versus Fighting," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(6), pages 657-676.
    20. Stergios Skaperdas & Samarth Vaidya, 2016. "Contested Persuasion," Working Papers 161704, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    21. repec:eee:touman:v:31:y:2010:i:2:p:240-249 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Zuleta, Hernando & Villaveces, Marta Juanita & Andonova, Veneta, 2013. "Conflict and negotiation in Colombia: Are pre-donations useful?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 105-117.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

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