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Governance Property

25 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2012  

Gregory S. Alexander

Cornell Law School

Date Written: April 17, 2012


Exclusion theorists of property think that the concept of property properly concerns only the relations between owners and nonowners — that is, the external relationships of owners, or what we might call the “external life” of property. From this perspective, the internal relationships among property stakeholders — the “internal life” of property — are irrelevant from a conceptual point of view. I argue that this is a distorted and misleading view of property. To reveal this misconception, I distinguish between two types of property, which I call exclusion property and governance property. Governance property, not exclusion property, is the dominant mode of ownership today. the emergence of GP as the predominant form of property means that the right to exclude can no longer be considered the core of private ownership. The right to exclude, although important, is not central to GP; rather, internal governance mechanisms are essential.

Keywords: Property, rights, exclusion, governance

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Gregory S., Governance Property (April 17, 2012). University of Pennsylvania Law Review, May 2012; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-14 . Available at SSRN:

Gregory S. Alexander (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-3504 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

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