Post by Henry Smith
Last week I took part in some events at the Intensive Doctoral Week at Sciences Po in Paris. This is a conference for Ph.D. students in law from all over France, organized by Mikhail Xifaras of Sciences Po Law School, and it features panels devoted to a wide range of topics. One of two on property focused on the future of communal property, with panelists Bob Ellickson, Séverine Dusollier, Maria Rosaria Marella, and myself (with my name spelled “Henri” no less!). The notion of common property has a long pedigree and is very important in the work of legal scholars such as Bob Ellickson and Carol Rose and economists such as Gary Libecap and Elinor Ostrom. The Europeans have a renewed interest in communal property for two reasons. First, they believe that it is a way of breaking down the supposedly hyper-individualist notion of property enshrined in the civil code. Second, communal property can be used to solve cutting-edge problems like providing new forms of low-income housing.