Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lewinsohn-Zamir on Identifying Intense Preferences

Daphna Lewinsohn-Zamir (Hebrew University - Faculty of Law) has posted Identifying Intense Preferences on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

People's preferences vary in intensity: some are relatively strong while others are comparatively weak. Information regarding the strength of preferences is essential for legal policy making for reasons of both efficiency and fairness. However, the identification of intense preferences is no easy task. Individuals may strategically misrepresent the intensity of their preferences to improve their position. In recent years, the Law-and-Economics literature has largely focused on one aspect of this issue: the case of owners' subjectively high valuation of land. Several scholars have proposed various techniques to detect people's true preferences, relying on self-assessments. These techniques require case-by-case inquires, involve monetary payments, and employ sanctions to ensure truthfulness.

This Article argues that the land-valuation problem is but a specific manifestation of a much broader concern. The need to identify intense preferences arises in all fields of law and with respect to all types of entitlement. More importantly, fundamentally different methods can be used to detect strong preferences. Identifiers may be generalized rather than case-specific, entail burdens in-kind rather than monetary ones, and adopt non-penalizing rather than penalizing approaches.

Legal rules, as this Article demonstrates, can employ generalized and non-penalizing (GNP) devices to identify intense preferences. Such identifiers include: use value vs. exchange value, possession, declining marginal utility, redemption and reasons-requirement. These identifiers tacitly underlie a large variety of rules governing such diverse issues as rights of first refusal, takings compensation, self-help remedies, children's adoption, secured transactions and conscientious objection.

The Article further argues that GNP identifiers are superior to alternative techniques. It compares GNP devices to four other methods: "Mouth" (reliance on people's verbal statements alone); "Mouth and Purse" (verbal statements backed up by monetary sanctions); "Generalized and Penalizing" (generalizations that utilize willingness to bear in-kind sanctions); and "Case-Specific and Penalizing" (case-by-case detection via readiness to incur non-monetary burdens). GNP techniques score highly on all parameters of evaluation. They treat people with dignity and respect, afford equal treatment to their preferences, do not favor the rich, and at the same mitigate the risk of lies. In addition, GNP methods entail relatively low administrative costs and can contend with objectionable preference-intensities.

Ben Barros

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September 30, 2008 in Property Theory, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Willis on The Mortgage Crisis and Eminent Domain

Lauren E. Willis (Loyola LA) has posted Stabilize Home Mortgage Borrowers, and the Financial System Will Follow on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

To halt the Great Depression, the federal government nullified all clauses in contracts that pegged debt to the price of gold. By taking these contracts off the gold standard, debts were reduced by roughly 40 percent. Economist Randall Kroszner, now a governor on the Federal Reserve Board, examined the effects of this sweeping debt reduction and found that both stocks and bonds responded favorably. Investors and creditors decided that the elimination of debt overhang and the avoidance of threatened corporate bankruptcies more than offset the cost to creditors of receiving 60 cents on the dollar. And the taxpayer did not pay a penny.

This trick could only be performed once, now that gold clauses are out. So is there a way to eliminate today's mortgage debt overhang, staunch foreclosures, and restore liquidity and stability in our financial markets? Yes. We have not yet used our most potent weapon against the crisis: eminent domain.

Ben Barros

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September 30, 2008 in Real Estate Transactions, Recent Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bell on Private Takings

Abraham Bell (Bar Ilan/U Conn) has posted Private Takings on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Eminent domain, or the power to take, is generally analyzed as the quintessential government power. It is unsurprising, therefore, that scholars tend to operate from the basic assumption that eminent domain is solely an incident of the government's domain in the provision of public goods. This assumption has led to widespread criticism of the courts' evisceration of the public use requirement, and repetition of the mantra that the government cannot simply take from A in order to give to B.

In this Article, I show that this conception of takings is too narrow. In function, if not in name, eminent domain is simply another property arrangement, and, as such, it is adaptable to private property law even without state action. Indeed, private takings - i.e., takings carried out by non-governmental actors - have a solid basis in our legal system. Additionally, the justifications for government takings lend themselves just as well to private takings. Recognizing the importance and legitimacy of private takings leads to two central claims. First, I argue that private takings should often be a preferred mechanism for achieving goals generally accomplished today through public takings. Second, I show that identifying private takings as a vital category helps clarify the proper concerns of takings law-not only the constitutionally demanded just compensation offered for takings and the post-taking public use, but also to the pre-taking original use.

Having made these central claims, I posit that a comprehensive law of takings can be developed that encompasses both private and public takings. In the realm of theory, the Article circumscribes the place of takings within the broader theory of entitlements by defining takings within the context of mixed property and liability (pliability) rules. Normatively, the Article argues for the incorporation of private taking mechanisms into fields generally seen as the domain of classic property law and regulation.

Ben Barros

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September 26, 2008 in Recent Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chang on Eminent Domain Compensation

Yun-chien Chang (NYU) has posted An Empirical Study of Compensation Paid in Eminent Domain Settlements: New York City 1990-2002 on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

No large-scale empirical study on compensation paid in eminent domain settlement has been undertaken in the past thirty years. Yet many state legislatures, in response to the Kelo case, have implemented new constitutions and laws (or have bills pending) to increase condemnation compensation, despite the lack of empirical grounds. Takings scholarship is also built on assumptions or anecdotes rather than empirical facts about how much condemnees have been compensated. I use hedonic regression models and about 80,000 comparable sales to estimate the fair market value of 430 condemned properties in New York City from 1990 to 2002.

I find that 71% of these settled cases are compensated with less than fair market value; 24% received more than fair market value; only very few of them (5%) got roughly fair market value. Specifically, most owners of high-value residential properties received more than fair market value, while most owners of low-value residential properties and vacant land receive less than fair market value. Most industry property owners are over-compensated, while most retail property owners are under-compensated. These results are statistically significant. Furthermore, the magnitudes of over- and under-compensation are often extreme, meaning condemnees received more or less than 50% of estimated fair market value.

My explanations for the empirical findings are multifold, because no single approach alone can explain the magnitude and distribution of the under-compensation and over-compensation among residential properties, commercial properties and vacant land. The imperfection in estimating fair market value of both regression models and appraisal methods is one reason. The condemnee-side lawyers' incentives to work harder on high-value cases are another. The government officials' utility function should impact condemnation compensation, but my data do not allow me to ascertain whether the government maximizes budgetary interests or political interests. I have tested other factors, such as the condemned properties' blight, tax default history, location, size, title-vesting year, age, owner type, length of settlement time, and planned use after takings. But I found no obvious pattern.

Ben Barros

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September 26, 2008 in Recent Scholarship, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Iglesias on Housing and Public-Private Partnerships

Tim Iglesias (University of San Francisco) has posted Our Pluralist Housing Ethics and Public-Private Partnerships for Affordable Housing on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

While affordable housing has been produced through a variety of public-private partnerships (PPPs) for many decades, this fact is garnering new and increasing attention by legal and policy analysts. This chapter considers how this new attention may affect the future of America's affordable housing movement through the lens of our pluralist housing ethics: (1) Housing as an Economic Good, (2) Housing as Home, (3) Housing as a Human Right, (4) Housing as Providing Social Order, and (5) Housing as One Land Use in a Functional System. (The housing ethics framework was first explicated in Tim Iglesias, Our Pluralist Housing Ethics and the Struggle for Affordable Housing, 42 Wake Forest L. Rev. 511 (2007).) After defining a housing ethic, this chapter briefly explains our five housing ethics and reflects on our housing ethics pluralism. Then, after analyzing the PPP phenomenon using this framework, the chapter concludes that development of affordable housing through the form of PPPs presents important and even historic opportunities for affordable housing development but also substantial risks. Specifically, the proliferation of affordable housing PPPs could engender increased subsidies, continued experimentation with creative methods of developing affordable housing, improved public perceptions of affordable housing, and, most importantly, a fundamental repositioning of affordable housing in legal and policy debates. However, this phenomenon could also lead to the opposite outcomes.

Ben Barros

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September 26, 2008 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yankee Stadium Home Run Baseball Dispute

From the NY Times:

Yankees catcher José Molina hit the last home run at Yankee Stadium. That is not in dispute. Who should have pocketed the ball seems to be.

In Sunday night’s Yankees-Orioles game — the last baseball game in the long history of the ballpark in the South Bronx — the ball that Molina hit in the fourth inning soared over the left-field fence, and ended up in a net over Monument Park.

As Molina ran the bases, there was the usual skirmish in the stands. Arms-in-the-air fans did what fans do when a ball is headed their way: They craned their necks, reached up and tried for the catch. So did Orioles left fielder Jay Payton, on the field.

But it was the net that made the catch.

Fingers poked through, or tried to. Some might have even touched the ball. It stayed put.

A fan, identified by news organizations in Wyoming as Steve Harshman, a state legislator and a high school football coach, staked his claim. “I had the ball on the net and I said, ‘Well, I’m going to pull it right through this netting,’ ” Mr. Harshman told station KCWY-TV in Casper, Wyo.

A security worker warned him not to rip the net and to let the ball go, Mr. Harshman added. He said he was reassured by the workers, who told the crowd, “It’s his ball.” Then the workers told him, “You just release it when you’re ready,” he said. When he did, “a guy” jumped up and grabbed, it.

“It went right into my hands,” said Paul Russo, 31, a schoolteacher in the Bronx and a lifelong Yankees fan. “I have possession of the ball. I’m like, wow.”

Two security workers ordered him to hand over the ball, he said — for safekeeping, he figured.

But then the unthinkable — to him — happened. “They flip it to this other fan,” he said. “I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ ” . . .

All that left Mr. Russo considering options like going to court to ask for custody of a baseball. . . .

Yankee Stadium had a long-established procedure for when a ball is caught in a net and a fan reaches into the net to grab it, according to Howard J. Rubenstein, a spokesman for the Yankees.

He said that the guards were instructed to tell a fan to let go of the ball, and once it was free of the net, a guard would return it.

The fan “doesn’t give up his ownership, he only gives up custody,” Mr. Rubenstein said. . . .

Legal experts have studied this kind of thing. Paul Finkelman, a professor at Albany Law School, was quoted in a Cardozo Law Review article titled “Fugitive Baseballs and Abandoned Property: Who Owns the Home Run Ball?” The article described a symposium that touched on Barry Bonds’s 500th career homer.

As for the Molina homer, Professor Finkelman said, “it appears to me that when it went into the net, it went into the legal possession of the New York Yankees, and if stadium officials retrieve the ball and say ‘We’ll give it to you’ — whoever they’re pointing to — they have the right to do that.”

I'm not sure Professor Finkelman is right about why Harshman owns the ball, but I agree with the result -- I think that the Yankees had a policy to abandon their claim to balls in the net, and that Harshman got possession by stopping the movement of the ball.

Ben Barros

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September 24, 2008 in Personal Property | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Moose, Free For the Taking

From Craigslist:

I have a dead moose free for the taking.

It died yesterday, apparently of natural causes. I called Fish & Game to come and get it. Apparently, moose are a natural resource and belong to everybody, until they die, then they belong to whoevers property they die on. So, according to Fish & Game, the moose now belongs to me. Sweet!!

So, if you want a free moose, please come and get it before the bears do.

You could use it for dog food, or stuff it and put it your front yard, bear bait, whatever. If you live in the lower 48, this might be your best opportunity to get a free Alaska moose. I dont really care, I just want it out of my yard.

Please reply via email, I dont need all the animal rights folks calling me, its dead, and according to Fish & Game, its got no more rights...

Ben Barros

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September 24, 2008 in Natural Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Schwemm on Discriminatory Municipal Services under the FHA

Robert G. Schwemm (University of Kentucky) has posted Cox, Halprin, and Discriminatory Municipal Services under the Fair Housing Act on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

For most of its forty-year history, the federal Fair Housing Act ("FHA") has been accorded a generous construction by the courts. The modern federal judiciary, however, has grown so hostile to civil rights that decisions narrowing the coverage of the Nation's anti-discrimination laws have become the norm. With respect to the FHA, this trend is reflected in two appellate decisions - Halprin v. The Prairie Single Family Homes Ass'n, 388 F.3d 327 (7th Cir. 2004), and Cox v. City of Dallas, 430 F.3d 734 (5th Cir. 2005) - that took remarkably narrow views of the FHA by denying that its principal provisions apply to post-acquisition cases brought by current residents.

These two decisions and the specific issue dealt with in Cox - whether the FHA prohibits the discriminatory provision of municipal services to minority neighborhoods - are the subject of this Article. Part I describes the Cox litigation and its connection with Halprin. Part II surveys the pre-Cox cases that have dealt with discriminatory municipal services. Part III analyses the FHA's relevant provisions and their legislative history, an analysis that shows Cox and Halprin to have been wrong in denying FHA protection to current residents. Part IV builds on this analysis to provide a sounder approach to FHA claims alleging discriminatory municipal services. Although the result in Cox may be defended, this Article's ultimate conclusion is that the analysis in Cox and Halprin is so flawed - and in particular has so misconstrued the FHA's 3604(b) - that it should be rejected by other courts.

Ben Barros

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September 24, 2008 in Real Estate Transactions, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

AALS Donative Transfers Section Panel

The Wills, Trusts and Estates blog has a post about the Donative transfers section panel, which may be of interests to many propertyprofs.  Info on the Property section panels will come in a future post.

Ben Barros

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September 21, 2008 in Conferences, Estates In Land, Future Interests and the RAP | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Deng on Post-Disaster Reconficuration of Property Rights

Feng Deng (Chongqing University) has posted Post-Disaster Reconfiguration of Property Rights: The Case of Wenchuan Earthquake on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This paper draws on the ongoing reconstruction in Wenchuan Earthquake areas and studies how a new world of private property rights affects post-disaster reconstruction. In addition to analyzing particular problems related to rural housing, urban housing and housing finance, I argue that homeowners association may not be an efficient vehicle for post-disaster reconstruction. Canceling remaining mortgage loans is not fair to all people. I also discuss three general themes related to post-disaster property rights. First, post-disaster reconfiguration may be an important opportunity for major changes of property rights regime, including the decline of informal or communal property rights. Second, reconstruction approach is path dependent and the one based on liability rules, such as eminent domain, may be better able to mitigate the tragedy of anti-commons. Third, the well known safe development paradox may also have a property rights dimension.

Ben Barros

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September 19, 2008 in Land Use, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prefabricated Modern Houses

Longtime readers of propertyprof may recall my love affair with modernist housing. 

Thanks to the New York Times' article "Housing the Universe" for pointing me towards this website for prefabricated modern houses from IKEA and this one for homes from Ricio RomeroThis is my next house (I hope).

Alfred Brophy

September 16, 2008 in Land Use | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Chouinard and Steinhoff on Split-Estate Negotiations

The most recent issue of the Review of Law & Economics has an article by Hayley H. Chouinard and Christina Steinhoff (Washington State) called Split-Estate Negotiations: The Case of Coal-Bed Methane.  Here's the abstract:

Coal-bed methane is an emerging contributor to the US energy supply. Split estates, where landowners control the surface and the energy companies lease the rights to the underground gas from the federal government, often impede successful negotiations for methane extraction. We provide an extensive form representation of the dynamic game of the negotiation process for subsurface access. We then solve for a set of Nash equilibrium outcomes associated with the split estate negotiations. By examining the optimal offers we can identify methods to improve the likelihood of negotiations that do not break down and result in the gas developer resorting to the use of a bond. We examine how changes in transaction costs or entitlements will affect the outcomes, and support our finds with anecdotal evidence from actual negotiations for coal-bed methane access.

Ben Barros

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September 16, 2008 in Natural Resources, Property Theory, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Coke Zero's "Lawsuit" and the Similiar Property Theory?!

On the way back home from California, I watched a ton of television.  In fact, it's been years since I watched an entire afternoon of television; but, hey, the television was right in front of me and I was too tired to do much of my real work.  (That is, work on the chapter of University, Court, and Slave related to Thomas Cobb.)  Good thing that my years in Tuscaloosa sparked an interest in college football, because that was about the only thing on.

During one commercial break I was an advertisement for CokeZero.  The gimmick of this particular advertisement is some Coke officials consulting a lawyer to ask if they have a lawsuit against CokeZero for copying the taste of their product.  Never ceases to surprise me what Madison Avenue comes up with.  (New York Times on the ad campaign here.)  Anyway, the officials consult a real estate lawyer and ask if there's a possibility of a lawsuit when one neighbor builds an eerily similar house just next door to a distinctive house that is an architectural landmark?  I'm guessing "nothing" is the right answer to this one.  But it's always good to see real estate lawyers in popular culture.  And, who knows, maybe there's a restrictive covenant lurking in the background somewhere.

Want to see the commercial?  It's up on youtube!  Or you can visit the CokeZero website and click on the second video (the first one is of an immigration lawyer).

Alfred Brophy

September 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Berkeley Tree Protest

Berkeley_oak_grove_protest_wikip_3 I'm just back from Berkeley--my first visit to that town.  Pretty exciting for this legal historian to see a place that looms so large in recent history--and because I'm increasingly interested in the legal rules regarding parks and trees.  Berkeley's just emerging from a lengthy protest over the cutting down of a grove of trees where a new athletic training facility will be built.  The land where the trees stood is right near the law school.  As usual, the folks over at wikipedia have lots of details, including a bunch of pictures (like the one I used to illustrate this post).

Alfred Brophy

September 14, 2008 in Land Use | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conference: Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation Laws: Reclaiming the Past, Shaping the Future

Sometimes visitor here at propertyprof Carl Christensen reports that the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law is hosting a conference on "Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation Laws: Reclaiming the Past, Shaping the Future" on September 27. Dr. Patrick Kirch, Departments of  Anthropology and Integrative Biology University of California, Berkeley is the keynote speaker.

Other speakers and moderators are:

Dr. Kehau Abad, O‘ahu Island Burial Council
Dawn N.S. Chang, Ku‘iwalu
Prof. Carl C. Christensen, William  S. Richardson School of Law
Dr. Thomas S. Dye, T.S. Dye and Associates
Moses Haia, Esq., Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation
Dr. Holly McEldowney, DLNR, Division of State Parks 
Nancy McMahon, DLNR, Historic Preservation Division 
Kai Markell, Office of Hawaiian Affairs 
William M. Tam, Esq., Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing
Robert H. Thomas, Esq., Pacific Legal Foundation

Alfred L. Brophy

September 14, 2008 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tate on Taxation of Posmortem Publicity Rights

A while ago, I noted an interesting article by Gans, Crawford & Blattmachr on the tax treatment of rights of publicity.  Josh Tate (SMU) has now posted a response titled Marilyn Monroe’s Legacy: Taxation of Postmortem Publicity Rights.  Here's his first paragraph:

In an April 2008 essay in The Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Mitchell Gans, Bridget Crawford, and Jonathan Blattmachr argue that recent state legislation recognizing postmortem publicity rights fails to take into account the likely estate tax consequences. Although Gans, Crawford, and Blattmachr are correct to argue that allowing publicity rights to pass by will or inheritance could have adverse tax consequences for some estates, those ramifications are not as far-reaching as might be imagined. Moreover, their “legislative solution” will not solve the problem.

Tate also has an abstract up on SSRN:

In an April 2008 essay in the Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Mitchell Gans, Bridget Crawford and Jonathan Blattmachr argue that recent state legislation recognizing postmortem publicity rights fails to take into account the likely estate tax consequences. This response explains that, although Gans, Crawford, and Blattmachr are correct that making publicity rights devisable could have adverse tax consequences for some estates, those consequences are not as far-reaching as might be imagined, and the legislative solution they propose will not in fact solve the problem. Estate tax will not be levied on the estates of long-deceased celebrities like Marilyn Monroe (the subject of the recent California legislation with which Gans, Crawford, and Blattmachr lead their piece), and the analogy to wrongful death benefits misconstrues the case law on that subject. Gans, Crawford, and Blattmachr are employing the specter of federal death taxes - which have applied to devisable publicity rights in California since 1985, and are irrelevant to the recent legislative reforms there - in an attempt to frighten state legislatures into unnecessarily restricting testamentary freedom.

Ben Barros

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September 12, 2008 in Intellectual Property, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Call For Submissions - AALS Property Law Section Junior Scholars Works-In-Progress Panel

The AALS Property Law Section invites junior property scholars to submit works in progress for a junior scholars panel at the upcoming AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego.  The panel will take place on Friday, January 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.  At the panel, paper authors will have the opportunity to present their papers and receive commentary from senior scholars knowledgeable about their paper topics.

Submissions:  Two papers and an alternate will be selected for the panel by blind peer review.  Papers should be submitted by e-mail to [email protected] and [email protected] by October 8, 2008 with the subject line “Property Junior Scholars Panel.”  To facilitate blind review, authors should place their names and other identifying information on a separate cover page.  Authors also should alter or delete references within the text that would reveal their identities to a referee.  During the selection process, papers will be judged by how successfully they establish their contributions in a scholarly manner and by how substantially those contributions add to current property law and scholarship.

Eligibility:  The panel is open to scholars who (a) currently have a permanent or visiting appointment at an AALS member or fee-paid school; (b) have been teaching for six or fewer years; and (c) do not yet have tenure.  Papers that have been accepted for publication may be submitted for consideration, but only if they are early enough in the production process for the author to fully incorporate comments provided at the panel.

Please direct any questions to the panel organizers, Ben Barros ([email protected]) and Carol Brown ([email protected]).

Ben Barros

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September 11, 2008 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Atuahene on Property Rights and Past Theft

Bernadette Atuahene (Chicago-Kent) has posted Things Fall Apart: The Illegitimacy of Property Rights in the Context of Past Theft on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

In many states, past property theft is a volatile political issue that threatens to destabilize nascent democracies. How does a state avoid instability when past property theft causes a significant number of people to believe that the property distribution is illegitimate? To explore this question, I first define legitimacy relying on an empirical understanding of the concept. Second, I establish the relationship between inequality, illegitimate property distribution, and instability. Third, I describe the three ways a state can achieve stability when faced with an illegitimate property distribution: by using its coercive powers, by attempting to change people's beliefs about the legitimacy of the property distribution, or by enacting a Legitimacy Enhancing Compensation Program (LECP), which strengthens the average citizen's belief that she ought to comply with the law. Fourth, I develop the concept of a legitimacy disequilibrium, which is a decision-making framework that helps states decide if they should provide compensation to avoid instability. The framework requires states to weigh the cost of compensation against the cost of illegitimacy so I give a detailed description of what these costs entail. To best promote long-term stability, I argue that states should enact a LECP when the cost of illegitimacy outweighs the cost of compensation. Lastly, I outline the process a state should use to weigh the costs and decide whether to provide compensation for past theft to keep things from falling apart.

Ben Barros

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September 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Call for Papers: Property Ownership and Economic Stability: A Necessary Relationship

The editors of the Saint Louis University Public Law Review sent along this interesting call for papers:

The Saint Louis University Public Law Review invites abstracts of articles relating to its Spring 2009 symposium theme: Property Ownership and Economic Stability: A Necessary Relationship?

The symposium, which will be held on Friday, February 27, 2009, will consist of three round-table panel discussions examining the relationship between property ownership and economic stability for lower-income households, both in the United States and internationally.

Property Ownership in the U.S.: New Definitions for a New Era?
This panel will focus on the impact of both private and public land use restrictions, including common interest community servitudes and governance rules, on residential property rights.

Property Rights and Economic Stability in the International Context
This panel will consider how legal reforms in other countries, such as changes to the titling process and the role of homeowners associations, have affected the ability of low-income
people to occupy or dispose of their residences.

Ownership in Flux: the Role of the Federal Government in the Homeownership Debate

This panel will examine the implications of a national emphasis on homeownership, as opposed to support for rental programs.

Invitations to present and publish will be made by the Editorial Board following review of abstracts submitted, which should be limited to 300 words and represent original, unpublished work. Abstracts must be received by October 1, 2008 to be considered, and responses to submissions will be sent on or before November 1, 2008. Drafts of papers selected must be received by January 21, 2009.

Following the February 27, 2009 conference, final drafts of papers to be published must be received by April 1, 2009. The papers will be published in the Fall 2009 edition of the Public Law Review.

Abstracts may be submitted to Laura Schwarz, Lschwa13 at slu.edu

Ben Barros

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September 8, 2008 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Latest Twist on Adult Zoning

From the NY Times:

Two years ago, Ms. Babines, who does computer programming and business analysis in her day job, began offering instruction in pole dancing, power lap dancing, salsa and other forms of dance and fitness, in peoples’ homes and in rented space in a dance studio at night and on weekends.

“I love making people feel better about themselves,” she said. “Through the classes, their bodies change. They start losing inches off their waist. They start fitting into their skinny jeans.”

Business, particularly the pole dancing classes, which have been gaining in popularity across the country, has been so good that she put off finishing her master’s degree in elementary education and decided to open her own studio.

She found a storefront in a shopping area in Adams Township — a small suburb 25 miles north of Pittsburgh — next to Movie Stop, a video rental store, and Jimmy’s Strip District Grill and Deli.

But in March, the Adams Township code enforcement officer, Gary Peaco, denied her occupancy permit, ruling that her studio was an adult business and was illegally within 1,000 feet of a bar and a residential area.

According to the lawsuit, in appeal hearings before the township’s Zoning Hearing Board in May and June, Mr. Peaco said he had reached his decision after noticing the black and pink color scheme of Ms. Babine’s Web site — www.ohmyyouregorgeous.com — and the high-heeled shoe in her logo.

In addition, Mr. Peaco testified that even though the dance instruction did not involve nudity and there would be no audience, the dance styles were “provocative” and involved sexual “innuendo.”

Mr. Peaco did not return a phone message left at his home.

Without explanation, the three-member zoning board unanimously denied her appeal on July 29.

“This is in every way a dance studio,” Mr. Walczak said. “The only reason they don’t want her here is the township commissioners just don’t like some of the dances she teaches.”

The chairman of the zoning board, Jeff Brown, rejected that view. “The Zoning Hearing Board enforces the zoning laws of Adams Township,” he said, “and that’s what we did.”

Ben Barros

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September 5, 2008 in Land Use | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)