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


Let’s Not Start a War on Cash

By James A. Dorn. Orange County Register. September 23, 2016.

When Over-Preservation Impedes City Growth

By Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer. National Law Journal. August 15, 2016.

The Great Wall of Trump Would Be the Ultimate Eminent Domain Horror Show

By Randal John Meyer. The Daily Beast. March 30, 2016.

Cato Studies

An Innovative Approach to Land Registration in the Developing World: Using Technology to Bypass the Bureaucracy

By Peter F. Schaefer and Clayton Schaefer. Policy Analysis No. 765. December 3, 2014.

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.


Ending Legalized Piracy: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

Roger Pilon and Trevor Burrus. Policy Priorities for the 114th Congress. 2015.

Judicial Takings and Scalia’s Shifting Sands

Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus. Vermont Law Review. Vol. 35. No. 2. Winter 2010.

The Constitutional Protection of Property Rights: America and Europe

Roger Pilon. Economic Education Bulletin. June 2008.

Public Filings

Romanoff Equities, Inc. v. United States

By Robert H. Thomas, Damon Key Leong, Luke Wake, Karen Harned, Ilya Shapiro, & Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. November 16, 2016.

Piszel v. United States

By W. Scott Hastings, Andrew Buttaro, David G. Cabrales, Lucas C. Wohlford, & Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. October 14, 2016.

United States v. Batato

By Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, Frank Garrison, & Darpana Sheth. Legal Briefs. October 3, 2016.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Home-Sharing

Christina Sandefur. Regulation. Fall 2016.

Advancing Judicial Review of Wetlands and Property Rights Determinations: Army Corps v. Hawkes Co.

Steven J. Eagle. Supreme Court Review. 2015-2016.

Master Plans and Rent Seeking

William A. Fischel. Regulation. Winter 2015-2016.


Do Landowners Have a Right to Challenge Federal Regulation of Their Property? A Preview of Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes on the Eve of Oral Argument

Featuring Ilya Shapiro. March 14, 2016. Policy Forum.

Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st-Century America

Featuring Timothy Sandefur, Christina Sandefur, Roger Pilon, & Trevor Burrus. February 9, 2016. Book Forum.

Property Rights Are Human Rights: Why and How Land Titles Matter to Indigenous People

Featuring Ian Vásquez. October 1, 2015. Policy Forum.