The Future of Property Rights: Digital Technology in the Real World
20 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 8, 2020
Digital technology can open new frontiers in the formation, registration, and enforcement of property rights in land. This chapter explores the prospects - but also the limits - of digital technology in streamlining efficient land use and land markets. In particular, it asks whether the digital production and dissemination of information can enhance a more optimal use of land, such as by the three-dimensional (3D) delineation of real estate into distinct segments and specific rights thereto, including for subsurface infrastructure, or by the digital pooling of non-adjacent assets for purposes such as creating collective security interests in them. This chapter shows that while aligning the digital production of information with a corresponding system of “legal volumes” and 3D zoning regulation can innovate land markets, the growing multiplicity of property rights in multi-layered tracts faces a genuine collective action problem, having both commons and anticommons features. Digital technology should thus be matched with a legal reform on the institutional governance of multiple uses and interests in and across tracts, somewhat like in the case of condominiums and other current forms of strata title.
Keywords: anticommons, collective action, commons, condominium, easement, governance, land, property, real-estate registry, strata title, technology, zoning
JEL Classification: K11, K25, R30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation