Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Property Rights: Limits and Enhancements

  • Geoffrey M. HodgsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_746


This essay considers the concept of “property right” as typically employed in “the economics of property rights.” Some early uses of the term “property right” in economics are quoted before moving to the predominant usages in the standard “economics of property rights” today. This prevailing usage is compared with the more nuanced notion of “property right” in legal theory. It is argued that, for the purposes of understanding the role and impact of property rights on economic performance, it would be better for economists to return to the legal meaning of property rights. This legal meaning can cope better with important developmental phenomena such as the use of property as collateral to finance loans. Also the recognition of the legal character of property opens doors for a richer understanding of motivations to respect property rights, which is consistent with empirical data indicating that people are not simply motivated to respect laws out of instrumental calculations...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hertfordshire Business SchoolUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK