Asymmetric Information and the Law of Servitudes Governing Land
Hull University Business School (HUBS)
University of Arizona
January 1, 2009
Journal of Legal Studies, Forthcoming
This paper explains the structure of the law governing servitudes on land using key ideas from the economics of information, focusing on easements and covenants and the rules governing their formation and application. We develop a model of land markets that incorporates asymmetric information (adverse selection) and specialization in ownership and use this to offer a rationale for the seemingly ad hoc limits on the use of servitudes. We stress the inability of sellers of land
credibly to assure buyers that land is not encumbered by servitudes. Our model explains variations in legal doctrine over time and across jurisdictions, particularly comparing servitudes in the United States and in England.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: law and economics, property rights, servitudes
JEL Classification: K0, K11
Date posted: June 6, 2011
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