This concluding chapter examines several aspects of the relationship between the early history of Colorado water law and property theory. It first reviews the distributive-justice principles reflected in the appropriation doctrine. It then examines the classic claim that the adoption of the prior appropriation regime was a transition to a system of more specified private-property rights, driven by considerations of economic efficiency. Next, it looks at other economic explanations for the transition in property rights, especially those highlighting the inefficient institutions that may result from interest group pressure. The fourth section considers some practical, modern implications of this study. Finally, the insights gained into the history of the Colorado Doctrine are used to question conventional classifications of property regimes.
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