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Water rights

David B. Schorr

In a world in which ever-growing demand for water meets an essentially finite supply, it is unsurprising that rights in water have received much attention from courts and legislatures. Perhaps more surprising are the radical variety of property regimes governing this resource and the intensity of attention water rights have received in the scholarly literature. ‘Property’ often connotes land, the classic resource of property law; yet water often serves as land’s alter ego, an exemplar of the odd, the esoteric, the colorful, or the cutting-edge in property law, set against the staid familiarity of land law. This chapter briefly surveys the salient issues discussed in recent scholarship on property in water, largely revolving around the distinction between systems based on private, common, and public property in water. After questioning the utility of this classificatory scheme in practice, the chapter turns to examine theories purporting to explain why water is the subject of different property systems, normative literature as to which system of property in water is best, and the extensive empirical and historical work impacting on these theories. It also treats recent discussions of public rights in water and a human right to water, and the ways in which these issues interact with the property rights literature.
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Uncontrolled experiments from the laboratories of democracy: traditional cash welfare, federalism, and welfare reform

Jonah B. Gelbach

In this chapter I discuss the history and basic incentive effects of two key U.S. cash assistance programs aimed at families with children. Starting roughly in the 1980s, critics of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program argued that that program – designed largely to cut relatively small checks – failed to end poverty or promote work. After years of federally provided waivers that allowed states to experiment with changes to their AFDC programs, the critics in 1996 won the outright elimination of AFDC. It was replaced by the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, over which states have enormous design discretion. In this chapter I argue that the empirical evidence on AFDC’s behavioral impact was never as compelling as AFDC’s critics maintained. Nor, for the period up to about 2012 (the endpoint of this chapter's analysis), is there any substantial empirical evidence supporting what I call the “triumphalist” position that the wave of state and federal welfare reforms that took place in the 1990s importantly explains the observed increase in employment among single mothers. Either the economic boom of the late 1990s, or some other difficult-to-measure change, appears to have played a more important role than welfare reform. What is more, the uncontrolled experimentation of the last two decades has left the U.S. with a crazyquilt collection of state programs that do not lend themselves to the kind of empirical research that would be necessary to benefit from the Brandeisian idea of states as laboratories of democracy.
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The UN Global Compact

Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez and Liam Leonard

The United Nations Global Compact has operated with some success and some criticism since its inception in 2000. The Global Compact has been criticised by some observers, who feel the United Nations loses some of its independence through alliances with corporate entities. This chapter discusses the significance of the Global Compact within a number of contexts, including an examination of the Global Compact’s origins, key participants and its principal signatories. The details of the UN Global Compact Governance structures will be outlined to allow a better understanding of how the agency operates regionally and internationally. In addition, the extent of the Global Compact members’ engagement with corporate social responsibility, and related issues such as environmental protection, human rights and social issues, will be detailed. In addition to presenting a discussion of the United Nation’s role in developing the Compact, the interaction between the UN and engaged participants, from both business and non-business sectors, will be outlined. This will be supplemented by an account of the 10 Principles which lie at the heart of this endeavour. Finally, the connectivity between the UN Global Compact and the global market will be discussed.
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Transnational corporations and mining tax reform: the story of the Australian mineral resources rent tax revolt

Roman Tomasic

Transnational corporations in Australia have been active in seeking to minimize their tax obligations and have resisted national government efforts to impose higher tax obligations upon them. This has been well illustrated by the actions of TNCs in the Australian mining industry. On some occasions Australian governments have successfully imposed mining taxes where the legal and commercial environment was relatively uncomplicated. However, where new tax liabilities were broadly focused, and where these liabilities overlapped with obligations to pay State government royalties, they encountered severe reactions from TNCs in Australia. The fate of the Rudd Labor Government’s proposed Resources Super Profit Tax (RSPT) provides an illustration of such a reaction and highlights strategies used by TNCs, such as BHP Billiton, to prevent the national government from imposing higher mining tax obligations. In response to a national media campaign and lobbying efforts by the mining industry, the RSPT was dramatically watered down by the Gillard Labor government after Rudd had been removed as prime minister; a much weaker version of the tax was then framed by the mining industry and enacted by the Gillard government; it was renamed the Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT). This controversial law was eventually repealed by the Coalition Abbott Liberal–National Government which had come to power on the back of the mining industry tax revolt led by TNCs. This was an enormous victory for mining industry TNCs over a chaotic national government.
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Transfer of property inter vivos

Lars van Vliet

This chapter will give an overview of the various transfer systems for movable property and immovable property. It will focus on voluntary transfers based on a legal act between the transferor and transferee. First the difference between the unitary approach and the functional approach to passing of ownership will be discussed. Many legal systems have a default rule for the passing of ownership. It indicates when ownership passes, but allows parties to indicate a different moment. In principle this moment of passing of ownership is the reference point for many other legal questions. This approach is called the unitary approach. The opposite is the functional approach, which does not wish to use the passing of ownership as a reference point. Within the unitary approach we can further distinguish between systems which in principle require a delivery (real or constructive) (tradition systems) and systems in which a contract of sale in principle passes ownership without delivery being needed (consensual systems). Within the tradition systems we can further distinguish between causal and abstract systems. Causal systems require a valid legal ground, such as a valid contract of sale. Abstract systems do not set this requirement and regard the validity of the transfer abstractly from the validity of the underlying legal ground. Ideally, a land register should mirror the legal status of each parcel of land. However, many legal systems allow certain unregistered rights to be set up against bona fide third parties. In many of these systems, leases, even if regarded as mere contracts, work against third parties. Often the buyer of a leased property is bound to the lease even if he did not know nor could have known about the lease. The chapter focuses on German, French, English and Dutch law.
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Theoretical approaches to global regulation of transnational corporations

Rachel J. Anderson

This chapter identifies and categorizes theoretical approaches to the regulation of transnational corporations (TNCs), a rapidly growing field of scholarship that is still in flux. Approaches to regulation of TNCs respond to the distinctive issues TNCs raise arising from, for example, their size, form, influence, public–private character, and multi-jurisdictional nature. Their global presence and interconnectedness also create opportunities to advance a wide-range of regulatory purposes, including goals related to development, rights and sustainability. In the decades since the first theory of TNCs was proposed in the 1960s, theoretical approaches for their regulation have developed into a multifaceted, although incomplete, set of theories with which to analyze who, when, why, how, with what effects and for whom TNCs can or should be regulated. This chapter distinguishes six schools of thought: International Legal Theory, Corporate Social Responsibility Theory, Law and Economics Theory, New Governance Theory, Critical Legal Theory, and Law and Religion approaches. The table at the end of this chapter gives an overview of the disciplines used, underlying assumptions, sources of law, key actors and goals of regulation.