Entropy in Property

56 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2001

See all articles by Francesco Parisi

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School; University of Bologna; University of Miami, School of Law


This article suggests that property is subject to a fundamental law of entropy, namely that it is affected by a one-directional bias leading towards increasing fragmentation. The application of the laws of entropy to property further indicates that one can avoid this tendency only in the purely abstract world of zero transaction costs. Building upon this consideration, I consider the choice of remedies in property law, focusing on legal rules that are designed to promote (a) functional, (b) legal, and (c) physical unity in property. I provide examples drawn from both common law and civil law systems, supporting the hypothesis that legal rules are instrumental in combating entropy in property.

Suggested Citation

Parisi, Francesco, Entropy in Property. American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 50, No. 3, pp. 595-632, Summer 2002, George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 01-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=264315 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.264315

Francesco Parisi (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
40126 Bologna, fc 47100

University of Miami, School of Law ( email )

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