The laws of territorial sovereignty are among the earliest to have been developed in modern international law, and are among the most important. While this would seem to indicate the potential attractiveness of normative economic analyses of the laws of territorial sovereignty, there is unfortunately little scholarship on territorial sovereignty law that utilizes the insights of economic analysis.
This essay aims to begin filling that gap by utilizing insights from a related field of private law: property. The doctrines of territorial sovereignty bear a strong resemblance to the laws of property in municipal law. Territorial sovereignty, like property; contains rules of acquisition, transfer, and abandonment. It uses chains of title to evaluate claims, and adopts standard property maxims such as nemo dat quod non habet, (one cannot transfer what one does not have). The Essay presents several areas of research in the field of property law that can fruitfully be incorporated into economic analysis of territorial sovereignty, and suggests the means for incorporating the insights.
Unfortunately, economic analysis of property law can only partially fill the gaps in analysis of territorial sovereignty. Many of the concerns of the law of territorial sovereignty differ significantly from those of property. The Essay, thus, considers future potential directions for research, and concludes with observations on the limitations of the analogy between property and territorial sovereignty.