19 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2002
Date Written: Summer 2002
Like the proverbial bundle of sticks that property professors invoke to illustrate the evolution of the concept of property from a unified whole to an infinitely divisible and fungible set of rights, property law has become a bundle of topics that has arguably lost its intellectual coherence and centrality to the study of law. Ironically, the growing importance of a wider range of resources - beyond simply land - has contributed to the erosion of the intellectual coherence of the property field. This article suggests that the disparate elements of the property field can be usefully reunified by focusing upon the relationships among resources, culture, and governance institutions (background legal rules, social norms, markets, and politics). By recognizing that land is just one of a range of resources and that resources can be managed in many effective ways, property law can be seen as both intellectually coherent and vital to the study of law. The article shows how this framework can be used as a means of understanding the governance regimes that emerge in particular contexts and in explaining the evolution of such regimes over time.
Keywords: Property, Comparative Institutional Analysis
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation