Epstein: Why There is Too Little, Not Too Much, Private Property

53 Ariz. L. Rev. 51 (2011). Richard A. Epstein, James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago.

The topic of this conference is Michael Heller’s provocative new book on The Gridlock Economy.1 The central thesis of the book is that one critical obstacle to overall social advancement is the fragmentation of property among private owners that prevents its coherent assembly for projects that are desired by all but achievable by none. There is no question that, more than anyone else, Heller has put this topic on the map in its current form, chiefly through two earlier academic articles which have had immense influence on the field.2 The ability to introduce into the mature field of law and economics even a single new generative term, the anticommons on which Gridlock is based, is a major intellectual achievement.


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