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The Psychology of Property Law$
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Stephanie M. Stern and Daphna Lewinsohn-Zamir

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479835683

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479835683.001.0001

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Protecting Homes and Other Types of Property

Protecting Homes and Other Types of Property

(p.49) 2 Protecting Homes and Other Types of Property
The Psychology of Property Law

Stephanie M. Stern

Daphna Lewinsohn-Zamir

NYU Press

This chapter questions the tendency of property law to bestow more generous protection against dispossession due to debts or other losses to residential property than to personal or commercial property or leasehold interests (i.e., renters). Contrary to this pattern in property law, the empirical psychology research on homes suggests only moderate psychological importance to maintaining ownership of one’s particular home, and substantial attachments and psychological interests in personal and commercial property. From the perspective of psychological loss, the strong property protection afforded to homes under tenancy by the entirety and homestead exemptions may be outsized. Conversely, the more limited protection of personal property and compensation for its loss under laws such as bankruptcy exemptions and bailment may be inadequate.

Keywords:   Homes, personal property, identity, personhood theory, adaptation, homelessness, homestead exemptions, tenancy by the entirety, bailments, bankruptcy exemptions

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