Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2279806
 


 



Bright-Line Fever: Simple Legal Rules and Complex Property Customs Among the Fataluku of East Timor


Daniel Fitzpatrick


Australian National University - ANU College of Law

Andrew McWilliam


Australian National University (ANU)

May 15, 2013

Law & Society Review, 47: 311–343, June 2013
ANU College of Law Research Paper

Abstract:     
Recent law and economics scholarship has revived a debate on bright-line rules in property theory. Economic analysis asserts a baseline preference for bright-line property rules because of the information costs if 'all the world' had to understand a range of permitted uses, or deal with multiple interest-holders in a resource. A baseline preference for bright-line rules of property arises from the cost of communicating information: all else being equal, complex rules suit smaller audiences, (e.g. contracting parties), and simple rules suit large audiences, (e.g. property transactors, violators, and enforcers). This article explores the circumstances in which a simple rule, purportedly for a large audience, takes on interpretive complexity as it traverses specialized audience segments. The argument draws on two heuristic strands of recent socio-legal scholarship: systems theory notions of autopoiesis, and concepts of negotiability in plural property relations. The potential for complex interpretations of simple legal rules is illustrated through a case study of the Fataluku language group in the district of Lautem, East Timor.

Keywords: property, systems theory, information cost, law and development

JEL Classification: K11

Accepted Paper Series





Not Available For Download

Date posted: June 17, 2013 ; Last revised: June 29, 2014

Suggested Citation

Fitzpatrick, Daniel and McWilliam, Andrew, Bright-Line Fever: Simple Legal Rules and Complex Property Customs Among the Fataluku of East Timor (May 15, 2013). Law & Society Review, 47: 311–343, June 2013; ANU College of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2279806

Contact Information

Daniel Fitzpatrick (Contact Author)
Australian National University - ANU College of Law ( email )
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
Andrew McWilliam
Australian National University (ANU) ( email )
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 129

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo4 in 0.266 seconds