The determination of the “true” property boundary in planned development : a Coasian analysis

Lawrence W.C. LAI*, Stephen N.G. DAVIES, K. W. CHAU, Ken S.T. CHING, Mark H. CHUA, H. F. LEUNG, Frank T. LORNE

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This interdisciplinary paper, informed by research and practices in neo-institutional economics, property law and land surveying, is an exploratory account of the boundary as (a) the ontological foundation of private property in land and boundary dispute resolution, and (b) as a pre-contractual condition of any Coasian exchange of rights for planned urban development and space-relevant innovations. Under conditions of positive transaction costs according to the third Coase Theorem, with the help of real-life examples, the paper explains the choice of using the courts, instead of the market, as a means of resolving disputes over land boundaries. It does so in terms of two land surveying and three economic reasons. The surveying reasons are historical and cartographical. The economics reasons relate to the price level of land, the transaction costs of enforcing dispute resolutions and the externalities of land boundary determination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-599
Number of pages21
JournalAnnals of Regional Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer.


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