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Bundle of Property Rights

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Property rights have been described as a bundle of sticks wherein each stick represents a different property right.  What sticks or rights does a property owner have? 

  • One stick might represent the right to use the property. Another stick might represent the right to sell the property to another person. A third stick might represent the right to give the property to another person, while a fourth stick might represent the right to bequeath the property to someone else. A fifth stick might represent the right to construct a building on the property, whereas other sticks might represent the right to grow a crop, bury something on the property, lease the property to another user, the right to hunt on the land, the right to allow another person to hunt on the land, and the list goes on.
  • Do we think about property as the right to capture wind energy to generate electricity, or the right to capture sunshine by growing plants or with machines, such as solar panels, or the right to change the use of the land, such as developing agricultural land for industrial or residential purposes?

Can we define all the sticks in the bundle of rights?  How are the sticks in the bundle changing over time? Why would the sticks in the bundle change?

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