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

Cite this Article
Joshua D. Wright, Tragedies of the Gridlock Economy at George Mason University Information Economy Project, Truth on the Market (September 29, 2009),

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!