Friday, May 19, 2006

Property Theory Syllabus

Sometime this summer, I'm going to revise the syllabus for my Property Theory seminar.  I'm definitely going to add Rethinking Commodification by Martha Ertman and Joan Williams.  I've put my current syllabus below the fold, and would welcome suggestions on other readings or subject to include.

Class 1:  Conceptualizing Property
Thomas C. Grey, “The Disintegration of Property”
Stephen R. Munzer, “Popular and Sophisticated Conceptions of Property” from A Theory of Property
J.E. Penner, “The ‘Bundle of Rights’ Picture of Property” (excerpt)
Guido Calabresi & A Douglas Melamed, “Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Inalienability:  One View of the Cathedral” (excerpt)
James Madison, “Property”
Margaret Jane Radin, “Property and Personhood” (excerpt)

Class 2:  Moral Arguments For and Against Private Property
John Locke, On Property
Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia (excerpt)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality (excerpt)
Jeremy Bentham, The Theory of Legislation (excerpt)
Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto (excerpt)
Stephen R. Munzer, “A Rawlsian Conception of Equal Property” from A Theory of Property

Class 3:  Further Perspectives on Property Theory
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital, pp. 1-13; 39-67
F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (excerpt)
Charles A. Reich, “The New Property” (excerpt)
“No Title”, The Economist
Joseph William Singer, “The Reliance Interest in Property” (excerpt)

Class 4:  Economic Approaches and Theories of Intellectual Property
Michael A. Heller, “The Tragedy of the Anticommons:  Property in the Transition from Marx to Markets” (excerpt)
Michael A. Heller & Rebecca S. Eisenberg, “Can Patents Deter Innovation?  The Anticommons in Biomedical Research) (excerpt)
Richard Posner, Economic Analysis of the Law (5th Ed.) (excerpt)
Kremen v. Cohen, 337 F.3d 1024 (9th Cir. 2003) (Kozinski, J.)
The New Kids on the Block v. News America Publishing, Inc., 971 F.2d 302 (9th Cir. 1992) (Kozinski, J.)
White v. Samsung Electronics America, 989 F.2d 1512 (9th Cir. 1993) (Kozinski, J.)

Classes 5, 6 and 7:  Property in the Body
Roy Hardiman, “Toward The Right of Commerciality:  Recognizing Property Rights in the Commercial Value of Human Tissue” (excerpt)
Richard Posner, Economic Analysis of the Law (excerpt)
Margaret Jane Radin, Contested Commodities (excerpt)
Moore v. Regents of the University of California, 793 P.2d 479 (Cal. 1991)
Newman v. Sathyavaglswaran, 287 F.3d 786 (9th Cir. 2002)
Davis v. Davis, 842 S.W.2d 588 (Tenn. 1992)

Classes 8 and 9:  Property and Natural Resources
Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons” (excerpt)
Harold Demsetz, “Toward a Theory of Property Rights” (excerpt)
Alison Rieser, “Property Rights and Ecosystem Management in U.S. Fisheries:  Contracting for the Commons?”
Robert J. McManus, “America’s Saltwater Fisheries:  So Few Fish, So Many Fishermen”
James Rasband et al., “Why Are Natural Resources Difficult to Manage?”
James Salzman, “Creating Markets For Ecosystem Services:  Notes From The Field” (excerpt)

Classes 10 and 11:  Perspectives on the Right to Exclude
Eduardo M. Peñalver, “Property as Entrance” (excerpt)
Lior Jacob Strahilevitz, “Information Asymmetries and the Right to Exclude” (excerpt)
D. Benjamin Barros, “Covenants Against Sex Offenders”
State v. Shack, 58 N.J. 297 (1971)
PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74 (1980)

Classes 12 and 13:  Homeownership and Takings
William Fischel, The Homevoter Hypothesis (excerpt)
35 Penn. Stat. §§ 1702, 1712
Kelo v. New London, 125 S. Ct. 2655 (2003)
D. Benjamin Barros, “The Police Power and the Takings Clause” (excerpt)
Hodel v. Irving, 481 U.S. 704 (1987)
Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003 (1992)

Ben Barros

[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]

Property Theory | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Property Theory Syllabus:


Very interesting set of readings, Ben. Looks like a fabulous course.

Couple of suggestions. When you talk about property in the body, might want to add something from the time when people were owned. Lots of things one could add there--a popular one is North Carolina Justice Thomas Ruffin's opinion in State v. Mann. And I (no surprise here) think that some more historical perspective would be good--perhaps something from Greg Alexander's Commodity and Propriety. Or maybe William Novak's People's Welfare (about regulation in the nineteenth century) or Stanley Katz' essay on Jefferson and Property (JL&Econ from around 1976) or Katz' Michigan article on changes in inheritance around the time of the Revolution.... Lots of potential articles here. In fact, I used to teach a course on the history of property rights.

Again, great readings.

Posted by: Alfred L. Brophy | May 19, 2006 8:13:08 AM

Thanks, Al. I'm a huge fan of Novak's People's Welfare. I'd be interested in hearing more about what you covered in your history of property rights course at some point.

Posted by: Ben Barros | May 19, 2006 8:44:28 AM

I am just happy because I am not in law school now.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz | May 19, 2006 10:35:58 AM

Post a comment