Property Rights within a Theory of Entangled Political Economy

31 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2020

See all articles by Zachary Kessler

Zachary Kessler

George Mason University

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: November 1, 2020

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the way economists conceptualize the relationship between politics and property rights. It is customary for economists to treat polity and economy as comprising separate domains of human action. In contrast, we treat society as a single domain of action comprised of different forms of organization where the entities organized within polity are entangled with those organized within economy. What results from this alternative analytical scheme is abandonment of the presumption of truly settled property rights in favor of recognition that property rights are always potentially open to contestation. To be sure, we would also note that with a ten percent rate of discount, something that can be retained for seven years is about half as valuable as something that can be retained forever. Nonetheless, entanglement calls attention to the processes through which rights of action are established and challenged.

Keywords: property rights, entangled political economy, human nature, perpetual contestation

JEL Classification: B41, D70, P14, P16, P48

Suggested Citation

Kessler, Zachary and Wagner, Richard E., Property Rights within a Theory of Entangled Political Economy (November 1, 2020). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 20-38, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3722982 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3722982

Zachary Kessler

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Richard E. Wagner (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
334 Enterprise Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
(703) 993-1132 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://mason.gmu.edu/~rwagner/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/richard-wagner

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