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


Will Baltimore Make Off With the Races?

By Walter Olson. The Wall Street Journal. March 25, 2019.

Donald Trump Can Call a ‘National Emergency,’ but That Doesn’t Mean He Can Build the Wall

By Ilya Somin. USA Today. January 21, 2019.

To Build the Wall, Trump Might Make Thousands of Americans Suffer

By Ilya Somin. Washington Post. January 19, 2019.

Cato Studies

Tort Reform and Innovation

By Alberto Galasso and Hong Luo. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 99. February 7, 2018.

Curse or Blessing? How Institutions Determine Success in Resource-Rich Economies

By Peter Kaznacheev. Policy Analysis No. 808. January 11, 2017.

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.


Magna Carta’s Importance for America

Cato's Letter. Roger Pilon. Vol. 13. No. 3. Summer 2015.

Ending Legalized Piracy: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

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

Was Privateering Plunder Efficient?

Alex Nowrasteh. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Vol. 79. No. 3. August 2011.

Public Filings

Love Terminal Partners v. United States

By Karen Harned, Luke Wake, Ilya Shapiro, & Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. March 15, 2019.

Colony Cove v. City of Carson

By Luke Wake, Karen Harned, Ilya Shapiro, & Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. December 3, 2018.

Leone v. Maui County

By Brian T. Hodges, Christopher M. Kieser, Ilya Shapiro, & Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. October 11, 2018.

Cato Reviews & Journals

How Economists Understand the Damage from Rent Controls

Richard B. McKenzie and Dwight R. Lee. Regulation. Winter 2018-2019.

Expressions Hair Design: Detangling the Commercial-Free-Speech Knot

Mark Chenoweth. Supreme Court Review. 2016-2017.

Roam if You Want to?

Jonathan Klick and Gideon Parchomovsky. Regulation. Spring 2017.


Little Pink House

Featuring Susette Kelo, Courtney Moorehead Balaker, Ted Balaker, & Scott Bullock. April 17, 2018. Film Screening.

Rethinking Regulatory Takings: A Preview of Murr v. Wisconsin on the Eve of Oral Argument

Featuring Todd Gaziano, Roger Pilon, Ilya Somin, & Ilya Shapiro. March 17, 2017. Policy Forum.

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.