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Common Law and Economic Efficiency


Todd J. Zywicki


George Mason University School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Edward Peter Stringham


Fayetteville State University - School of Business and Economics; 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

Abstract:     
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

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Date posted: September 9, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Zywicki, Todd J. and Stringham, Edward Peter, Common Law and Economic Efficiency (September 8, 2010). ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LAW AND ECONOMICS, Francesco Parisi, Richard Posner, eds., 2010; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 10-43. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1673968

Contact Information

Todd J. Zywicki (Contact Author)
George Mason University School of Law ( email )
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8091 (Phone)
703-993-8088 (Fax)

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Edward Peter Stringham
Fayetteville State University - School of Business and Economics ( email )
Fayetteville, NC 28301
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.uncfsu.edu/sbe/HackleyChair/Stringham_Bio.htm
Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business ( email )
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States
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