The State’s Enforcement Monopoly and the Private Protection of Property
The modern state has monopolized the legitimate use of force. This concept is twofold. First, the state is empowered with enforcement rights; second, the rights of the individuals are (partly) restricted. In a simple model of property rights with appropriation and defense activity, we show that a restriction of private enforcement is beneficial for the property owner, even if there are no economies of scale from public protection. We emphasize the role of the state as a commitment device for a certain level of enforcement. However, commitment will only work if the state can regulate private protection. A ban of private enforcement measures can even be beneficial in situations where there would be no private enforcement at first place because the “shadow” of defense has a negative impact on the investments in property rights infringements. From a legal perspective, our approach emphasizes a regulation of victim behavior as opposed to the standard approach which focuses on the regulation of criminal behavior.
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