Friday, February 13, 2009

Salsich on Diversity in Housing

Peter W. Salsich (Saint Louis Univ.) has posted Toward a Policy of Heterogeneity: Overcoming a Long History of Socioeconomic Segregation in Housing on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This article focuses on the exclusionary effects of land use regulation on housing availability and cost. Recent research by economists and others highlighting such effects is examined. The histories of parallel efforts to provide housing for low- and moderate-income families as well as persons with disabilities are reviewed. The article recommends that legislation be enacted that elevates affordable housing for low- and moderate-income to a level of national concern similar to national policies favoring efficient transportation, as well as protecting coastal and wetland areas and endangered species.

Ben Barros

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February 13, 2009 in Land Use, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Boudreaux on Property and Development Policy

Karol Boudreaux (George Mason - Mercatus Center) has posted The Role of Property Rights as an Institution: Implications for Development Policy on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

There is a very real risk that reforms enacted in the name of property rights will fail if policy makers employ the rhetoric of property rights, but don't pay careful attention to what makes property regimes function in the real world. When they are secure and divisible, property rights unleash entrepreneurship and economic prosperity and form the basis for trade and markets. Divisibility means that individuals may trade sticks in their bundle of property rights with others -- they are allowed to negotiate and decide how they may or may not use property they hold. In many countries legislative, regulatory and, at times, customary barriers block the divisibility of rights or fail to enforce rights, creating insecurity for rights holders. Well-intentioned development programs often create similar constraints. Such decisions mute the incentive structure that exists when property rights are robust and contracts are respected. When such barriers exist, economic growth is sacrificed, and human flourishing is constrained.

Ben Barros

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February 13, 2009 in Property Theory, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hernando de Soto and Property in a Market Economy - Podcast

The podcast of the Property Section panel from last month's meeting in San Diego is now online.

Ben Barros

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February 11, 2009 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Davidson on Property and Relative Status

Nestor M. Davidson (Colorado) has posted Property and Relative Status on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Property does many things - it incentivizes productive activity, facilitates exchange, forms an integral part of individual identity, and shapes communities. But property does something equally fundamental: it communicates. And perhaps the most ubiquitous and important messages that property communicates have to do with relative status, with the material world defining and reinforcing a variety of economic, social, and cultural hierarchies.

This status - signaling function of property-with property serving as an important locus for symbolic meaning through which people compare themselves to others - complicates premises underlying central discourses in contemporary property theory. In particular, status signaling can skew property's incentive and allocative benefits, leading people to over-invest in status - enhancing property and undermining welfare gains associated with trades around property. Similarly, status signaling risks warping the link between property and personhood, investing that connection with a potentially dysfunctional regard for the property of others. And status signaling is magnified by and can undermine property's communitarian links.

From a doctrinal perspective, ground-level property law intersects with the problem of relative status across an array of areas of intellectual property, real property, and personal property. At times law gives formal sanction to property's hierarchical signaling and at times it tempers this tendency, breaking up fixed hierarchies. Sensitivity to these dynamics holds important lessons for both the ongoing development of property law and for the continuing interdisciplinary exploration of this core aspect of property.

Ben Barros

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February 9, 2009 in Property Theory, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Schultz on Live Performance and IP

Mark F. Schultz (Southern Illinois) has posted Live Performance, Copyright, and the Future of the Music Business on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This article considers whether the emergence of business models based on free digital delivery of music and other content have rendered copyright protection less necessary or justifiable. Falling production and distribution costs have led many scholars and popular commentators to conclude that creators can and should embrace free distribution models for copyrighted works. In particular, many contend that the recording industry can survive and prosper by producing and freely distributing recordings as a form of advertising for the concert business. Some have further concluded that copyright law may need to change to reflect this new reality.

This article assesses such proposals, drawing insights from cultural economics, the literature on the economics of copying, and empirical data regarding the health of the concert industry. When free business models work, they can work quite well (e.g., Google and, long before it, commercial broadcasting). Examination of theory and practice shows, however, that such models are practicable and desirable only under certain, specific circumstances.

The success of free business models depends on a fairly tight link between the free content and a sufficiently remunerative good or service. Concert revenue is not particularly tightly linked to free recordings - certainly not as tightly as examples such as open source software and support services, or online children's games and plush toys. Moreover, the concert business is lucrative mostly for older, well-established acts. The data collected here on concert revenues indicates that a handful of older acts now make most of the money in the concert business, while ticket prices for smaller, niche acts have stagnated over the last decade. Although much maligned, the modern record business supports a vast, remarkably diverse variety of recordings. If it had to rely on concert revenue alone, some acts would probably continue to record, but diversity and consumer choice and welfare would likely decrease.

The shortcomings of the live performance model indicate that the existence and occasionally tremendous success of "free" business models do not justify wholesale changes in copyright policy or legal doctrine. Business models based on direct sales and supported by copyright still provide tremendous advantages for creators and consumers.

Ben Barros

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February 9, 2009 in Intellectual Property, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Murray on Private Management of Public Spaces

Michael F. Murray (Yale) has posted Private Management of Public Spaces: Nonprofit Organizations and Urban Parks on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This paper argues that a theoretical account of the formation and operation of the nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that increasingly manage public property must have a place for the way in which nonprofits manifest responsibility. The current nonprofit models, therefore, must be extended and refined in order to explain the private management of public space by nonprofits. NPOs take responsibility in two ways that reduce the cost of monitoring their performance and, consequently, help to create positive outcomes for public spaces with respect to funding and maintenance. First, NPOs as a single entity assume responsibility for public space in a way that contrasts strongly with the diffuse accountability of governmental managers and, more importantly, in a way that makes them easier to monitor. Second, the dependence of NPOs on their revenue streams - donations or user fees, depending on the type of NPO - makes them responsible for the success of the park in a way that both contrasts strongly with insulated civil servants and places the burden on the NPO, instead of on individuals outside the organization, to compile and communicate information about their operation for monitors. Private managers, therefore, are more accountable for their actions than governmental managers because they are more responsible and, thus, less costly to monitor. Several policy and legal reforms are helpful to fostering NPO responsibility that reduces monitoring costs.

Ben Barros

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February 9, 2009 in Land Use, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Munzer on Community Biotechnological Assets

Stephen R. Munzer (UCLA) has posted Commons, Anticommons and Community in Biotechnological Assets on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

I argue for three theses: T1 - It is possible to use access to scientific knowledge to reinforce existing scientific communities and sometimes generate new ones. T2 - It is possible to use community to generate scientific knowledge, patent reform, scientific research, medical diagnostics, and trade secrets and occasionally patents. T3 - On the spectrum from commons to semicommons to private property to anticommons, an anticommons can arise if a biotechnological asset is fuzzily defined. I defend these propositions against objection and establish the fertility of my account by considering intellectual property issues relating to synthetic biology. Along the way I present a new understanding of the public domain. I also pursue several projects that interweave throughout the article. The analytic project shows how careful definitions yield a useful taxonomy of biotechnological assets and their holders. The normative project explains why we should endorse intellectual property rights in some biotechnological assets but not others. Finally, the thematic project establishes larger contrasts between different forms of community on the one hand and individualism on the other, and reveals how my understanding of the public domain delivers a surer grasp of these contrasts and their roles in institutions of property.

Ben Barros

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February 9, 2009 in Intellectual Property, Property Theory, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)