NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Patrick Behrer

Harvard University
Economics Department
Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Harvard University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2016Securing Property Rights
with Edward L. Glaeser, Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto, : w22701
A central challenge in securing property rights is the subversion of justice through legal skill, bribery, or physical force by the strong—the state or its powerful citizens—against the weak. We present evidence that undue influence on courts is a common concern in many countries, especially among the poor. We then present a model of a water polluter whose discharges contaminate riparian properties belonging to multiple owners, and we compare property rules, liability rules, and regulation from the efficiency viewpoint. When the polluter can subvert the assessment of damages, property rules are preferred to liability rules when there are few parties and bargaining is feasible, but they excessively deter efficient pollution when bargaining between many parties fails. Regulation that enforce...
 
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