Common Law and Economic Efficiency
Todd J. Zywicki
George Mason University School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
Edward Peter Stringham
Trinity College; Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business
September 8, 2010
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LAW AND ECONOMICS, Francesco Parisi, Richard Posner, eds., 2010
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 10-43
This essay reviews the origins and development of the debate over the “efficiency of the common law hypothesis.” The essay begins with the earliest explanation for the observed tendency of the common law as proffered by Richard Posner. It then examines the Rubin-Priest and contemporary models of demand-side models of common law efficiency and critiques thereof. It then turns to a supply-side analysis of the efficiency of the common law hypothesis, focusing on the nature of the constraints imposed on common law judges and changes in those constraints over time. This essay also examines public choice analysis of the efficiency of the common law and the Austrian economics critique of the standard neoclassical model of analysis.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: Aranson, Bailey, Buchanan, Claeys, Cooter, Cordato, demand side analysis, Hayek, Hicks, inefficiency, Kaldor, Kornhauser, Krier, legislation, Leoni, liability, O’Driscoll, Parisi, Priest, Pritchard, regulation, Rubin, spending, Stearns, tax, Terrebonne, Tullock, Wangenheim, wealth redistribution
JEL Classification: B20, B25, B53, K00, K40
Date posted: September 9, 2010
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