Three Essays on Proprietary Cities

Mark Lutter

Advisor: Donald J Boudreaux, PhD, Department of Economics

Committee Members: Richard E. Wagner, Tyler Cowen

Buchanan Hall, #D180
July 13, 2016, 01:00 PM to 10:00 AM


This dissertation contains three essays on proprietary cities. Proprietary cities have three defining feature: (1) a private, for-profit entity (the proprietor) retains land ownership; (2) the city has substantial legal and regulatory autonomy from the host country; and (3) the proprietor has a meaningful role creating and enforcing a new legal and regulatory system. The first essay offers an introduction to the idea of proprietary cities, investigating the incentives facing the proprietor and the policies the proprietor is likely to adopt. The second essay investigates governance in proprietary cities. It examines the literature on monopolies, private dispute resolution, and private police to better understand how proprietary cities might act. The third essay places proprietary cities in an institutional context. It develops an understanding of why such substantial policy changes might be allowed, and how to think about proprietary cities with regard to the new institutional literature.