Monday 18 March 2013

The House that Spite Built

It would be too quick to say that Coasean stories fall apart when these kinds of cases exist; they could be the sad occasional ex post enforcement that keeps all kinds of other bargains from falling apart. But they do make for interesting cases. But they do make for interesting cases. Via +Courtney Knapp: Spite Houses. Houses built to spite the neighbours.

Mental Floss lists nine of them; the article seems mostly repetition of the Wikipedia page on Spite Houses. Some of the houses seem more example of bloodymindedness than of spite. But the comments thread at Mental Floss provides all kinds of other interesting cases.

Outside of Somerset, Manitoba, near where I grew up, a farmer who had some grudge against a neighbour built a pig barn directly opposite the neighbour's house, his own farmyard being a couple miles down the road. I don't know if it was a fight over churches or local schools, but the targeted family seemed exceptionally unlikely ever to have done anything to anyone that might have warranted such treatment. Spite isn't an edifying motive, but it can be a motive nonetheless.

The more that you think others are motivated by spite, and the less responsive you think spite is to side-payments, the more you want restrictive zoning rules like set-backs.

No comments:

Post a Comment