Friday, April 5, 2013
A new report from the Center for Retail Research claims that cheese is the world's most frequently stolen food, and as such, it has been labeled a "high risk food." [...] Almost four percent of the world's cheese supply ends up stolen, putting cheese ahead of other frequent grocery targets like candy and alcohol. Shoplifting rates as a whole are going up, because, hey, times are tough."
Carol Rose (Arizona/Yale) has posted Psychologies of Property (and Why Property is Not a Hawk-Dove Game) (Book Chapter) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This paper discusses the psychological states associated with various
theories of property. Many theories view property from the psychological
perspective of the owner, describing how property enables an owner to
create or present a self to the world, to enjoy a zone of liberty, to
acquire the confidence to participate in politics or economic
activities, among other matters. This paper, however, takes particular
interest in the psychological states associated with the non-owner — the
person who confronts the property of others. Some theorists have
described property as a “hawk/dove” or “chicken” game, in which the
non-owner takes a dove role, implicitly from fear. This paper argues,
however, that the non-owner’s respect for property cannot be explained
adequately by fear. Respect for the property of others emerges as a
somewhat mysterious psychological state from the point of view of
rational actors, but it is nevertheless critical for supporting the
institution of property.
Social capital has pervaded property law, with scholars and policymakers
advocating laws and property arrangements to promote social capital and
relying on social capital to devolve property governance from legal
institutions to resident groups. This Article challenges the prevailing
view of social capital’s salutary effects with a more skeptical account
that examines the dark side of residential social capital — its capacity
to effectuate local factions and promote restraints and
inegalitarianism that close off property. I introduce a set of claims
about social capital’s dark side in residential property and explore
these points through the examples of local racial purging, land cartels,
and residential self-governance. First, contrary to the assumption of a
social capital deficit, residential racial segregation and land
cartelization, perhaps the deepest imprints on the American property
landscape today, suggest an abundance of local social capital and
possible unintended consequences of interventions to build social
capital. Second, “governing by social capital,” or relying on social
capital for property self-governance, may empower factions, breed
conflict, and increase the demand for residential homogeneity as a proxy
for cooperation. In light of the mixed evidence for social capital’s
benefits and its sizable dark side, the more pressing and productive
role for property law is not to promote social capital, but to address
its negative spillovers and illiberal effects.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Robert Ellickson (Yale) has posted Stone-Age Property in Domestic Animals on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Only yesterday, all animals were wild. Zoological archaeologists assert that about 15,000 years ago, our hunter-gatherer forebears achieved the first domestication — the dog. Over the course of ensuing millennia, they proceeded to domesticate sheep, cattle, and other livestock. By the advent of the Bronze Age, domestic animals had come to constitute a major component of human wealth. Domestications required Stone Age people to create various informal property rules to resolve conflicting claims to the ownership of a domestic beast. A brand on an animal, for example, might have been considered adequate notice to a hunter that another person’s tamed animal was no longer up for grabs. This article marshals indirect sources of evidence, such as the practices of modern-day hunter-gatherers and the historical materials left by the earliest civilizations, to ground hypotheses about the substance of primeval property rights in domestic animals. These sources suggest, for example, that during the Neolithic Period (the late Stone Age) both dogs and livestock conventionally would have been owned privately by either an individual or a family, and not, as Friedrich Engels speculated, communally by a band or a tribe.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Douglas Rice highlights that sequestration could deny rental assistance to thousands of low-income families:
The budget cuts known as “sequestration,” initiated on March 1, will likely force state and local housing agencies to cut the number of low-income families using Housing Choice Vouchers to afford housing by roughly 140,000 by early 2014. This represents a sharp break from Congress’ bipartisan commitment — which it has met for most of the voucher program’s nearly 40-year history — to renew assistance for at least the same number of families from year to year. Thousands of other low-income families using vouchers could face sharp rent increases because of sequestration.
Ken Stahl (Chapman) has posted The Significance of Reliance in Land Use Law (BYU Law Review) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
generations, Americans have tapped their life savings and assumed huge
amounts of debt in order to achieve the American dream of owning their
own home. Though investing so heavily in a single asset is a rather
risky move on its face, buyers have been induced to purchase homes by a
slew of public policies, most notably zoning ordinances that protect
home values by buffering single-family neighborhoods against an invasion
of undesirable uses. As a result, homeowners have a fairly convincing
argument that they possess some sort of vested reliance interest in the
existing zoning of their neighborhoods that should prevent municipal
authorities from enacting zoning changes to allow unwanted uses.
Nevertheless, courts have not been receptive to homeowners’ pleas when such zoning changes are threatened. While courts will occasionally prohibit localities from changing their land use regulations after landowners have undertaken substantial expenditures to develop their property in reliance on pre-existing regulations, they offer no such protection for the reliance interests of landowners who desire to prevent development on neighboring property. I argue that the judicial distinction between developers’ and neighbors’ reliance interests rests on judicial intuitions about the nature of the local political process. Courts suspect that homeowners are likely to be the dominant faction in most municipalities and can therefore prevent unwanted development through their influence with city hall, whereas developers are unlikely to be powerful in a local political process dominated by anti-development homeowners, especially once a developer has invested significant resources in a particular project. This conclusion leads to a broader insight: Judicial review of land use decisionmaking is largely driven by a desire to protect the reliance interests of both developers and homeowners. Thus, courts are generally deferential toward most municipal land use policies that privilege homeowners’ reliance interests but occasionally temper that deference with solicitude for developers who can demonstrate substantial reliance.
As I argue, however, the primacy of reliance has come at a substantial price. For the sake of protecting reliance interests in existing zoning schemes, courts have essentially reified a longstanding pattern of de facto income and racial segregation in most metropolitan regions by licensing suburban communities to maintain zoning barriers that enforce such segregation. Moreover, I conclude that the judicial enterprise to protect reliance interests by empowering local governments is entirely self-defeating because, as the recent real estate downturn vividly illustrates, property values are determined by a complex web of forces well beyond the control of local governments.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The brewing fight between Arianna Huffington and her landlord provides a voyeuristic look into the lives of New York's super wealthy:
The owner of a 4,400-square-foot New York City apartment is accusing former tenant Arianna Huffington of trashing the place, leaving bloodied mattresses, gouged wood floors and a very expensive scratched up dining room table. Documentary filmmaker Eric Steel says it took three months to repair all of the damage and is suing Huffington for $275,000 for the trouble. That sounds excessive. [...]
Huffington, who moved out of the apartment in January, vehemently denied the allegations in a statement. "Every single claim in this suit is false except the square footage and the address," said the online news mogul. "Eric Steel, who happily renewed the lease twice and visited the apartment multiple times, is holding onto $93,000 dollars in deposits, which he has refused to return." Huffington added that Steel was "obviously trying to extort more money from me by making ludicrous claims." Meanwhile, she's reportedly heading to her very own townhouse on the Upper East Side which she's free to trash all she wants.
From the National Geographic:
The nation's list of national monuments—places of "historic or scientific" interest—has grown by five. On Monday, President Obama added five sites to the 103 previously enshrined.
The newcomers range from an ancient canyon in New Mexico to a 480-acre (194-hectare) property in Maryland where the courageous abolitionist Harriet Tubman helped to free runaway slaves.
National monuments do not have the same status as national parks, but once a site is designated as a national monument, Congress has the authority to designate it a national park. Nearly half of today's national parks began as national monuments.
Under the Antiquities Act, a President can protect public land without waiting for Congress to pass legislation. The first President to use this prerogative was Theodore Roosevelt, who in 1906 protected the flat-topped volcanic formation Devils Tower in Wyoming. Since then, 16 presidents have established national monuments, with President Clinton topping the charts with 22 establishments or expansions.
The new national monuments are The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (NM), The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument (MD), First State National Monument (DE), The San Juan Islands National Monument (WA), and The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (OH).
(Pic: The Río Grande del Norte National Monument lies north of Taos, New Mexico, near the Colorado border. The Monument includes approximately 242,500 acres of public land.)
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