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Property, Economics Of

The economic analysis of property recently has become an essential tool of legal discourse. Although economists have always considered private property the foundation of capitalism, only from the last third of the twentieth century has property been the object of systematic legal-economic inquiry.

Economic literature on the origins of property rights shows individuals organizing themselves in complex social organization to pursue the efficient exploitation of scarce resources and to take care of basic survival needs. In this narrative, the world is a gigantic commons for people to divide to avoid the socalled tragedy of the commons. The division of such a complex common among so many communities—and, further, among so many individuals within the community—is possible through the development of fundamental institutions such as markets, property ...

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