Posted by: steveschaus | 30th Jan, 2019

Chang & Smith – Convergence and Divergence in Systems of Property Law

Post by Henry Smith

Yun-chien Chang and I have a paper out on SSRN about comparative property law. We differentiate between aspects of property law that are structural versus those that are stylistic and between those that are more integrated into the law and those that are more detachable.  We derive some predictions for cross-linguistic variation, which we illustrate with a snapshot from a data set of property laws in 119 jurisdictions across the world.  The paper (which can be found here) is part of an NYU symposium on Convergence and Divergence in Private Law that will appear in the Southern California Law Review.  The abstract follows:

This article utilizes a unique data set of property laws in 119 jurisdictions in the world to test convergence/divergence theories in comparative property law. Our theory predicts that first, the structure of property law among all jurisdictions in the world will converge, or is similar since some time in the distant past, as they all face the same, positive transaction costs in delineating property rights. Second, our theory posits that the style of property law will tend to converge when the doctrines in question are isolated, but diverge when they are interconnected. Our data and descriptive analysis support the theory. Doctrines regarding possession, sales, condominium, tenancy in common, and limited property rights serve as prominent examples.

Figure 1 Jurisdictions Used in Analysis

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