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Assets, Attributes and Ownership

  • Kirsten Foss
  • Nicolai J. Foss

The notion of full asset ownership is important in economics, for example, in recent work on the boundaries of the firm, which has been taken up with the issue why it matters who owns an asset. However, recognizing that assets have multiple attributes, and that these may be subject to capture in world of positive measurement and enforcement costs, implies that the notion of full asset ownership is problematic. New property theorists sidestep these issues by implicitly assuming that residual rights of control are perfectly enforced (i.e., full asset ownership obtains). We discuss the notion of property rights and ownership in a positive enforcement and measurement cost setting, and suggest that the new property rights model is a part of a more overarching perspective, which also includes older contributions to property rights economics.

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Paper provided by Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School in its series IVS/CBS Working Papers with number 00-3.

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