Below is the abstract for “Ownership Concentration: Lessons from Natural Resources,” available for download on SSRN.
Concentration of ownership over land or other resources is both a sign and a cause of inequality. Concentration of ownership makes access to such resources difficult for those less powerful, and it can have negative effects on local communities that benefit from a more distributed ownership pattern. Such concentration goes against the antimonopoly principles behind the homesteading land policies and the regimes of many natural resources.
This Essay suggests that where concentration is a concern, one might draw lessons for reform by looking to the field of natural resources law, which employs a range of deconcentration mechanisms affecting fisheries, mineral extraction, farmland, and the like that have proven a considerable success. These deconcentration mechanisms have taken mostly two forms: restrictions on how much one right-holder can hold and restrictions on who can hold rights. These deconcentrating measures are more likely to be adopted in resources with a defined, relatively small market, with homogeneous uses and users, and where community externalities from concentration are assessable.