Scaling Property with Professor Ellickson

Lee Anne Fennell


Bob Ellickson's work is so wide-ranging, thought-provoking, and important that doing it justice here is an impossibility-so I will admit defeat on that score at the outset. Instead, I want to focus on one recurring theme that runs through much of his scholarship and that has been especially important to my own thinking about property: that scale matters. Ellickson cashes out this idea in many rich and interesting ways, but I will use three broad propositions that emerge from his work as a way of organizing my remarks. First, that the scale at which activities and events unfold should drive choices among property arrangements. Second, that the institutions for managing property should be scaled to fit the relevant action. Third, that scale should factor into our normative evaluations of the societal impacts of various institutional and property arrangements.