ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

Power, Property Rights, and the Dynamics of Local Wealth Appropriation

Friday, September 9, 2022 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT
Vernon Smith Hall (formerly Metropolitan Building)

ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory

The ICES Seminar in Experimental Economics and Game Theory of the Fall 2022 semester will feature:

Roger Lagunoff

Georgetown University

Power, Property Rights, and the Dynamics of Local Wealth Appropriation

 

 

Abstract

This paper examines the dynamic connections between wealth inequality and political decisions at the local level. We model a jurisdiction consisting of a politically dominant group and a marginalized one. At each date, the dominant group tries to appropriate ownership claims on productive assets. If its claims are legally challenged, the default outcome is determined by a right of possession (ROP) principle. Despite the ROP’s assurance of equal protection, the jurisdiction systematically redistributes property claims toward the dominant group. The jurisdiction appropriates wealth by leveraging common assets - those that generate non-rival consumption flows - using zoning, takings, or NIMBY policies. We examine how this leverage varies across time and depends on whether a common asset produces a public good or a NIMBY (producing public benefits for the dominant group and harms for the marginalized one). Finally, ROPs that prioritize some assets over others can exacerbate inequality.

 

For more information about the Seminar Series, please visit the Seminar Schedule homepage.

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