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Tragedies of the Gridlock Economy at George Mason University Information Economy Project

My colleague Tom Hazlett and his Information Economy Project at GMU is putting on a wonderful conference this week.  The public event is a debate between Michael Heller and Richard Epstein on the Gridlock Economy.  Following that event is an academic conference including: Harold Demsetz, Michael Meurer, F. Scott Kieff, Adam Mossoff, Kevin Werbach, Thomas Hazlett, Gerald Faulhaber, Doug Lichtman, Robert Merges and Chris Newman.

gridlock_dotsbadgeThe conference agenda is available here and includes what should be a wonderful keynote from one of my UCLA advisors, Harold Demsetz, on “Transaction Cost Tragedies.”

The conference announcement describes the event as follows:

This event will explore a paradox that broadly affects the Information Economy. Property rights are essential to avoid a tragedy of the commons; defined properly, such institutions yield productive incentives for creation, conservation, discovery and cooperation.  Applied improperly, however, such rights can produce confusion, wasteful rent-seeking, and a tragedy of the anti-commons.

This conference, building on Columbia University law professor Michael Heller’s book, The Gridlock Economy, tackles these themes through the lens of three distinct subjects: “patent thickets,” reallocation of the TV band, and the Google Books copyright litigation.

Disclosure: I am a Senior Fellow at the Information Economy Project.  But don’t hold that against them.  Check out the conference!

Posted in economics, intellectual property, law and economics, markets, scholarship