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
Date Written: March 30, 2015
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: Suggested Citation