Selling State Borders

65 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2013 Last revised: 22 Dec 2015

Date Written: January 2014


Sovereign territory was bought and sold throughout much of American history, and there are good reasons to think that an interstate market for borders could help solve many contemporary economic and political problems. But no such market currently exists. Why not? And could an interstate market for sovereign territory help simplify border disputes, resolve state budget crises, respond to exogenous shocks like river accretion, and improve democratic responsiveness? Focusing on the sale of borders among American states, this Article offers constitutional, political, and ethical answers to the first question, and a qualified yes to the second.

Keywords: Borders, Interstate Compacts, Federalism, Alienability, Commodification, Sovereignty

Suggested Citation

Blocher, Joseph, Selling State Borders (January 2014). 162 U. Pa. L. Rev. 241 (2014), Available at SSRN: or

Joseph Blocher (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics