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The Economic Structure of TrustsTowards a Property-based Approach$
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M. W. Lau

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602407

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602407.001.0001

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The Decline of Property and Trust

The Decline of Property and Trust

(p.105) 6 The Decline of Property and Trust
The Economic Structure of Trusts

M. W. Lau

Oxford University Press

This chapter charts the decline of property and trust in legal and economic thinking. It explains that the economic analysis of property does not consider property to be a coherent concept. Instead, property is treated as bilateral use rights between two parties. In law, property has declined significantly from its golden age in the eighteenth century. This is largely due to the changing nature of the economy and property's failure to adapt to changing circumstances. This chapter then shows how the traditional idea of property, based on the right to exclude, cannot adequately explain the trust and the beneficial interest. As a result of property's inability to explain trusts, the obligational and entity approaches have come to prominence.

Keywords:   property, right to exclude, economic analysis of property, intangible property, Ronald Coase, Wesley Hohfeld

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