Journal Article

On the Origins of Property Rights: Conflict and Productionin the State of Nature

Catherine Hafer

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 73, issue 1, pages 119-143
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2006.00371.x
On the Origins of Property Rights: Conflict and Productionin the State of Nature

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I analyse the emergence of property rights in a model of conflict and production in the absence of institutions of enforcement. The population of agents evolves dynamically through conflicts for possession of factor goods among pairs of randomly matched agents. Conflicts are incomplete information wars of attrition with an agent's type consisting of his or her independently drawn valuation of the prize and cost of competing for it. I prove equilibrium existence and show that in the steady state of the game, the population sorts into two stable groups (resource “haves” and “have-nots”) in accordance with a known function of their primitive types.

Keywords: D23; P14

Journal Article.  13075 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Capitalist Systems ; Production and Organizations

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