The Psychology of Property Law

The Psychology of Property Law

Stephanie M. Stern and Daphna Lewinsohn-Zamir

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9781479835683

Publisher: NYU Press


The Psychology of Property Law considers how research in psychology offers new perspectives on property rules and doctrines, and suggests avenues of reform. The book explains how assumptions about human judgment, decision making, and behavior have shaped different property laws and examines to what extent these assumptions are supported by the research. Employing key findings from psychology, the book considers whether property law’s goals and justifications for various property doctrines could be achieved more successfully with different rules. In addition, the book highlights property laws and conflicts that offer productive areas for further behaviorally informed research. The book critically addresses several topics from property law for which psychology has a great deal to contribute. These include ownership and possession, legal protections for residential and personal property, takings of property by the state, redistribution through property law, real estate transactions, and discrimination in housing and land use. Turning to remedies, the book discusses how psychology can inform legal debates over the desirability of property rules versus liability rules, and in-kind remedies versus monetary ones.