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The Return of an Efficient Institution: Trial by Battle
  • Adam Michel
Adam Michel
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Abstract

In 3017 the Omega quadrant on Mars adopted a barbaric judicial practice for deciding land disputes. Legal representatives of the disputants fight, sometimes to the death, before spectating citizens. The victor wins the property right for his employer. These combats have been termed in the popular media, "trials by battle." This paper investigates the law and economics of trial by battle. In the rural and poorly developed quadrants of Mars, high transaction costs confound the Coase theorem. I argue that trial by battle allocates disputed property rights efficiently and arose due to an increase in land value.