Property Is Only Another Name for Monopoly

110 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2016 Last revised: 5 Feb 2017

See all articles by Eric A. Posner

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School

E. Glen Weyl

Microsoft ; RadicalxChange Foundation

Date Written: January 31, 2017


The existing system of private property interferes with allocative efficiency by giving owners the power to hold out for excessive prices. We propose a remedy in the form of a tax on property, based on the value self-assessed by its owner at intervals, along with a requirement that the owner sell the property to any third party willing to pay a price equal to the self-assessed value. The tax rate would reflect a tradeoff between gains from allocative efficiency and losses to investment efficiency, likely in the range of 5-10% annually for most assets. We discuss the detailed design of this system from an economic and legal perspective.

Keywords: Property, Common Ownership, Investment Incentives, Allocative Efficiency, Spectrum, Domain Names

JEL Classification: B51, C78, D42, D61, D82, K11

Suggested Citation

Posner, Eric A. and Weyl, Eric Glen, Property Is Only Another Name for Monopoly (January 31, 2017). Journal of Legal Analysis, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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Eric Glen Weyl (Contact Author)

Microsoft ( email )

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RadicalxChange Foundation ( email )


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