Playing with Fire: Feminist Legal Theorists and the Tools of Economics
Neil H. Buchanan
George Washington University Law School
November 8, 2010
FEMINISM CONFRONTS HOMO ECONOMICUS, Martha A. Fineman, Terence Dougherty, eds., Cornell University Press, 2005
During the discussions at Professor Fineman’s recent feminist legal theory workshops, several participants argued that feminists should use the “tools” of mainstream economics to build a more rigorous foundation for their analyses. Feminist legal theorists, it was argued, had their hearts in the right place, but their arguments lacked sufficient intellectual (“hard-headed”) rigor to carry the day. Based on this view, the best strategy would be to use economic tools (which, these participants argued, are value neutral) to build a rigorous, logical foundation on which legal feminists could confidently stand. The problem – which applies to all areas of legal analysis, not just feminist legal theory – is that the use of so-called economic tools is almost certain to lead to the unintentional importation of hidden assumptions that permeate mainstream economics.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Date posted: November 9, 2010 ; Last revised: November 26, 2010