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Introduction: A Brief Trajectory of Public Choice and Public Law


Daniel A. Farber


University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Anne Joseph O'Connell


University of California, Berkeley - School of Law


RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON PUBLIC CHOICE AND PUBLIC LAW, D. Farber, A. O'Connell, eds., Edward Elgar, 2010
UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 1670388

Abstract:     
Public choice theory plays a critical role in public law, particularly for legal scholarship and to some extent for doctrine. To be sure, it is not the only game in town, but it is an important one. The Research Handbook on Public Choice and Public Law is part of a new series, Research Handbooks in Law and Economics, which has been developed under the direction of Judge Richard Posner and Professor Francesco Parisi. Each volume in the series aims to serve as a reference, providing helpful introductions to important topics, and as a provocateur, suggesting weaknesses and important areas for further exploration.

Our volume also emphasizes interdisciplinary and empirical approaches to public choice and public law, drawing from a range of social sciences and legal subjects. It is broken into four major segments: foundations, constitutional law and democracy, administrative design and action, and examples of specific statutory schemes. This introductory essay has several goals and audiences. To situate the novice, it starts by providing some cursory background on public choice theory, which the first part of the book covers in a more deliberate and stimulating manner. For the more sophisticated reader, it suggests that the field has shifted considerably in its aims and even its methods, comparing its origins to its current manifestations. For scholars engaged in this or related research, it then offers some lessons to consider as the field moves forward. Finally, for all readers, it summarizes the chapters contained in the volume.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: public choice, public law, foundations, constitutional law, agency design and action, statutory schemes

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Date posted: September 3, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Farber, Daniel A. and Joseph O'Connell, Anne, Introduction: A Brief Trajectory of Public Choice and Public Law. RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON PUBLIC CHOICE AND PUBLIC LAW, D. Farber, A. O'Connell, eds., Edward Elgar, 2010 ; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 1670388. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1670388

Contact Information

Daniel A. Farber
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )
Boalt Hall
Room 894
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-642-0340 (Phone)
510-642-3728 (Fax)
Anne Joseph O'Connell (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )
Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
(510) 643-9393 (Phone)
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