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The State’s Enforcement Monopoly and the Private Protection of Property

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Grechenig,  Kristoffel
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Grechenig, K., & Kolmar, M. (2011). The State’s Enforcement Monopoly and the Private Protection of Property.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-6E40-E
Abstract
The modern state has monopolized the legitimate use of force. This concept is twofold. First, the state is empowered with enforcement rights; second, the rights of the individuals are (partly) restricted. In a simple model of property rights with appropriation and defense activity, we show that a restriction of private enforcement is beneficial for the property owner, even if there are no economies of scale from public protection. We emphasize the role of the state as a commitment device for a certain level of enforcement. However, commitment will only work if the state can regulate private protection. A ban of private enforcement measures can even be beneficial in situations where there would be no private enforcement at first place because the “shadow” of defense has a negative impact on the investments in property rights infringements. From a legal perspective, our approach emphasizes a regulation of victim behavior as opposed to the standard approach which focuses on the regulation of criminal behavior.