The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Hillel Steiner
Reference work entry


In the strong sense, an entitlement is something owed by one set of persons to another. The thing owed is either a performance of a certain kind, such as a dental extraction, or a forbearance from interfering from some aspect of the title-holder’s activity or enjoyment, such as not trespassing on someone’s land. Strong entitlements imply the presence of a right in the person entitled and a corresponding or correlative obligation in the person owing the performance or forbearance. Typically, the person entitled is further vested with ancillary powers to waive the obligation or, alternatively, to initiate proceedings for its enforcement. A secondary (and contested) instance of a strong entitlement arises with respect to the position of a third-party beneficiary of a right-obligation relation between two other parties, such as the beneficiary of an insurance policy. Third parties usually lack powers of waiver and enforcement, for it is not strictly to them that fulfilment of the obligation is owed.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Hillel Steiner
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