Legal economists analyze property rights in two distinct, but related enterprises. The ‘content’-enterprise treats property rights as collections of entitlements and seeks to explain the combinatorial principles at work in combining them. The ‘enforcement’-enterprise takes the existing entitlement structures as a given and focuses instead on whether and how the individual entitlements should be protected against appropriation. This article argues that the differences in how these two enterprises resolve property disputes carry policy implications: if ‘self-help’ measures parties take to appropriate entitlements would lead to rent-seeking, the government should pre-emptively modify entitlement structures so that entitlements are assigned to the party that values them most.
Booms, Thomas, Adding Sticks to a Bundle: Government-Imposed Modifications to Property (May 10, 2018).