Of Natural Threads and Legal Hoops: Bob Ellickson's Property Scholarship

12 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009 Last revised: 6 Nov 2009

See all articles by Carol M. Rose

Carol M. Rose

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Date Written: March 30, 2009

Abstract

This brief retrospective identifies several of the constant ideas that have run through Robert Ellickson's property scholarship over a very long period. One theme that has emerged ever more strongly is the idea that property has a natural character: left to themselves, people organize their properties in a relatively limited number of predictable mixes and matches of individual and common ownership. Ellickson's earlier work on social norms and ancient law focused on neighbors and communities, while his latest work extends this idea of a natural order to the household. Implicit in much of his writing is a skepticism about governmental intervention, with its disruption of the norms upon which a natural set of property relationships emerge. But at bottom, the Ellicksonian natural order itself can only exist in the context of a certain kind of limited, non-interventionist ideal type of government.

Keywords: Ellickson, property, norms

Suggested Citation

Rose, Carol Marguerite, Of Natural Threads and Legal Hoops: Bob Ellickson's Property Scholarship (March 30, 2009). William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 18, p. 199, 2009; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 09-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1371236

Carol Marguerite Rose (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-621-5544 (Phone)
520-621-9140 (Fax)

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