Timing Rules and Legal Institutions

47 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2007 Last revised: 19 Mar 2009

See all articles by Jacob E. Gersen

Jacob E. Gersen

Harvard University

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School


Constitutional and legislative restrictions on the timing of legislation and regulation are ubiquitous but these timing rules have received little attention in the legal literature. Yet the timing of a law can be just as important as its content. The timing of a law determines whether its benefits are created sooner or later, and how the costs and benefits are spread across time, and hence to the advantage and disadvantage of different private groups, citizens, and elected officials. We argue that timing rules are, and should be, used to reduce agency problems within the legislature and between the legislature and the public, and to mitigate deliberative pathologies.

Keywords: constitutional restrictions, legislative restrictions, legislative timing, legislative regulation

Suggested Citation

Gersen, Jacob E. and Posner, Eric A., Timing Rules and Legal Institutions. Harvard Law Review, Vol. 121, p. 543, 2007, U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 347, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 172, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1002724

Jacob E. Gersen (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

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United States

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0425 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/posner-e/

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