Property, Efficiency, the Commons, and Theft

Political Economy and Law: A Handbook of Contemporary Practice, Research and Theory (Edward Elgar), 2016

39 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2015 Last revised: 4 Sep 2016

See all articles by Ramsi Woodcock

Ramsi Woodcock

University of Kentucky College of Law

Date Written: March 30, 2015

Abstract

It is easy to get the impression from reading economics that property generally, and property in ideas in particular, is efficient. This impression is meaningful because it suggests that there is no efficiency rationale for government regulation of any kind other than the institution and defense of a property system itself. The purpose of this Chapter is to explain why this impression is false. The Chapter shows that two stories economists tell about the efficiency of property, the Tragedy of the Commons and what I call the Parable of Theft, do not establish that property or intellectual property is efficient.

Keywords: law and economics, property, regulation, the tragedy of the commons, theft

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Woodcock, Ramsi, Property, Efficiency, the Commons, and Theft (March 30, 2015). Political Economy and Law: A Handbook of Contemporary Practice, Research and Theory (Edward Elgar), 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2580507

Ramsi Woodcock (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States

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