Advanced Property (20671). 2 units. This course will examine the concepts of real and personal property, their social and economic construction, and their consequences for human welfare: What does it mean—philosophically, socially, and economically—to own a piece of land or personal item? How is ownership established? Who should decide how the property is used? In fact, how should it be used? The course initially approaches these questions from a theoretical perspective, discussing certain foundational texts in social and economic theory. In particular, it probes the limits of economic reasoning in understanding property institutions, and examines whether—and how—we can compensate for these limitations by introducing social, cultural and moral elements into our analysis.
The class will then apply these general theoretical arguments to a variety of empirical settings: American land use regimes, particularly zoning ordinances and regulations; contemporary land use regulations in several foreign countries, covering Continental Europe, East Asian, and Latin America; and historical property institutions in early modern Western Europe and East Asia. By emphasizing a comparative and historical approach, the course attempts to highlight the social and cultural assumptions underlying many traditional theories of property ownership and utilization. Permission of the instructor required. T. Zhang.