The institution of property is as old as mankind, and property rights are today deemed vital to a prosperous economic system. Much has been written in the last decade on the economics of the legal institutions protecting such rights. This unprecedented book provides a magnificent introduction to the subject. Terry Anderson and Fred McChesney have gathered twelve leading thinkers to explore how property rights arise, and how they bolster economic development. As the subtitle indicates, the book examines as well how controversies over valuable property rights are resolved: by agreement, by violence, or by law.
The essays begin by surveying the approaches to property taken by early political economists and move to colorful applications of property rights theory concerning the Wild West, the Amazon, endangered species, and the broadcast spectrum. These examples illustrate the process of defining and defending property rights, and demonstrate what difference property rights make. The book then considers a number of topics raised by private property rights, analytically complex topics concerning pollution externalities, government taking of property, and land use management policies such as zoning.
Overall, the book is intended as an introduction to the economics and law of property rights. It is divided into six parts, with each featuring an introduction by the editors that integrates prior chapters and material in coming chapters. In the end, the book provides a fresh, comprehensive overview of an intriguing subject, accessible to anyone with a minimal background in economics. With chapters written by noted experts on the subject, Property Rights offers the first primer on the subject ever produced. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Louise De Alessi, Yoram Barzel, Harold Demsetz, Thráinn Eggertsson, Richard A. Epstein, William A. Fischel, David D. Haddock, Peter J. Hill, Gary D. Libecap, Dean Lueck, Edwin G. West, and Bruce Yandle.
"This volume provides a solid, sophisticated introduction to the emerging field of economics and property rights."--Choice
"This excellent survey of the property rights literature belongs on the shelf of everyone interested in the subject. It should attract a broad readership in economics and in law. Each chapter is very well written and researched. The editors have done a superb job of assembling a set of authors whose work meshes nicely, and the cross-referencing between chapters is most useful for the less initiated."--Steven Medema, University of Colorado at Denver
"Property Rights explores, in a concise and accessible volume, the new frontiers of the economic approach to property rights. The editors are savvy and reliable old hands who have herded together many of the field's leading economists as contributors. Together, they provide newcomers with a unified introduction to this vibrant subject."--Michael Heller, University of Michigan Law School
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