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Property as an economic concept: Reconciling legal and economic conceptions of property rights in a Coasean framework
Arruñada, Benito
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
Adopting a simplistic view of Coase (1960), most economic analyses of property rightsdisregard both the key advantage that legal property rights (that is, in rem rights) provide torightholders in terms of enhanced enforcement, and the difficulties they pose to acquirers interms of information asymmetry about legal title. Consequently, these analyses tend to overstatethe role of "private ordering" and disregard the two key elements of property law: first, theessential conflict between property (that is, in rem) enforcement and transaction costs; and,second, the institutional solutions created to overcome it, mainly contractual registries capable ofmaking truly impersonal (that is, asset-based) trade viable when previous relevant transactionson the same assets are not verifiable by judges. This paper fills this gap by reinterpreting bothelements within the Coasean framework and thus redrawing the institutional foundations of bothproperty and corporate contracting.
2012-11-26
Business Economics and Industrial Organization
property rights
enforcement
transaction costs
registries.
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Working Paper
         

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