Slices and Lumps

19 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2008 Last revised: 21 Aug 2019

See all articles by Lee Anne Fennell

Lee Anne Fennell

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: March 1, 2008


This brief essay, delivered in slightly different form as the 2008 Coase Lecture at the University of Chicago Law School, addresses problems involving the aggregation and division of entitlements. Fragments held by multiple parties - such as parcels of land, effort, or segments of a bridge - often must be assembled together to be worth much. Conversely, a presently unified entitlement may be more valuable if it can be split into separate pieces held by different parties. The essay examines these lumping and slicing problems (which turn out to be two sides of the same coin), shows how they turn up in both interpersonal and intrapersonal contexts, and discusses some tools for responding to them.

Keywords: property rules, liability rules, entitlements, assembly, division, intrapersonal dilemmas

Suggested Citation

Fennell, Lee Anne, Slices and Lumps (March 1, 2008). U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 395, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 211, Available at SSRN: or

Lee Anne Fennell (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0603 (Phone)

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics