My yard

by Russ Roberts on January 9, 2011

in Dinner Table Economics

This is a dinner table economics post.

My neighbors’ yards are nicer and much better kept than mine. Mine is badly groomed. There is some landscaping but it is not as nice as theirs. My yard is cluttered with the occasional basketball or branch or leaves I’m late in raking. Part of the reason is that I have four boys who leave stuff out. But the main reason Is suspect is that I don’t get much pleasure from making my yard look nice compared to the pleasure that they get. Or I’m lazy. It’s a combination of factors. What is my responsibility to my neighbors. What is theirs to me if I do not have the same preferences as they do? Who was Ronald Coase? What do his insights have to do with this problem? Should I be forced to clean up my yard and keep it nice? What obligations, if any, come with private property that abuts the private property of others?

EDIT: I have four children, not four boys. Three boys and one girl. Only the three boys leave stuff out, though. What a weird brain cramp–presumably I was eager to justify any clutter in my yard and my brain must have thought four boys was a better story than three.

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