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A Search-Theoretic Critique of Georgism

17 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012 Last revised: 14 Jul 2015

Zachary Gochenour

James Madison University - Economics Program

Bryan Caplan

George Mason University - Center for Study of Public Choice

Date Written: February 14, 2012

Abstract

We develop a critique of the single-tax proposal of Henry George. We present a simple search-theoretic model for the discovery of natural resources and show that a tax on the unimproved value of land is distortionary. We then consider the time inconsistency and regime uncertainty problem created by even incremental Georgist policy. We discuss historical cases of land reform and the subsequent challenge to re-establish a credible commitment to property rights in land and natural resources.

Keywords: Henry George, search theory, property rights, natural resources, regime uncertainty

JEL Classification: H21, Q15

Suggested Citation

Gochenour, Zachary and Caplan, Bryan, A Search-Theoretic Critique of Georgism (February 14, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1999105 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1999105

Zachary Gochenour (Contact Author)

James Madison University - Economics Program ( email )

United States

Bryan Caplan

George Mason University - Center for Study of Public Choice ( email )

Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2324 (Phone)
703-993-2323 (Fax)

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