America’s Founders understood clearly that private property is the foundation not only of prosperity but of freedom itself. Thus, through the common law, state law, and the Constitution they protected property rights—the rights of people to freely acquire, use, and dispose of property. With the growth of modern government, however, those rights have been seriously compromised.

More on Property Rights


Abusive Civil Asset-Forfeiture Laws

By Richard W. Rahn. Washington Times. April 14, 2014.

New York’s Pursuit of Airbnb Is an Attack on Privacy

By Ilya Shapiro and Gabriel Latner. Daily Caller. December 18, 2013.

Land Acquisition Bill Is a Luddite Throwback to 19th Century

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar. Times of India. August 25, 2013.

Cato Studies

Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance: Evidence from within and across Africa

By Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan and Bent E. Sørensen. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 7. August 6, 2014.

Reducing Livability: How Sustainability Planning Threatens the American Dream

By Randal O’Toole. Policy Analysis No. 740. October 28, 2013.

The Cost of Zimbabwe’s Continuing Farm Invasions

By Eddie Cross. Economic Development Bulletin No. 12. May 18, 2009.


The Constitutional Protection of Property Rights: America and Europe

Roger Pilon. Economic Education Bulletin. June 2008.

The Constitutional Protection of Property Rights: America and Europe

Roger Pilon. Progress Foundation (Zurich). June 13, 2007.

Class Action Lawmaking: An Administrative Law Model

Mark Moller. Texas Review of Law & Politics. Vol. 11. 2006.

Public Filings

Horne v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

By Steffen N. Johnson, Eimeric Reig-Pleissis, Christopher E. Mills, Ilya Shapiro & Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. October 8, 2014.

Dean v. City of Winona

By Erick Kaardal, Daniel Frank and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. July 26, 2014.

United States v. Wurie

By Jim Harper and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. April 9, 2014.

Cato Reviews & Journals


Mugged by the State: When Regulators and Prosecutors Bully Citizens

Featuring Tim Lynch. May 19, 2014. Policy Forum.

Securing Land Rights for Chinese Farmers: The Progress So Far

Featuring Ian Vásquez. April 6, 2009. Policy Forum.

Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage

Featuring Roger Pilon. January 27, 2009. Book Forum.