Debating Law's Irrelevance: Legal Scholarship and the Coase Theorem in the 1960s

Texas A&M Law Review 2 (December 2014).

70 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2012 Last revised: 13 Aug 2014

Steven G. Medema

University of Colorado Denver - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 6, 2014

Abstract

This paper examines the diffusion of Coase’s negotiation result -- now better known as the 'Coase theorem' -- in the legal literature during the 1960s, with particular attention paid to the challenge that this result posed for received legal thinking, how the it related to far older attempts to bring economic thinking to bear on the law, how legal scholars utilized it in their analysis, and how the treatment of this result by legal scholars compares to that accorded it by economists during this formative stage in the Coase theorem’s history. What will emerge, in the end, is an enhanced understanding of how the Coase theorem came to have a place in legal scholarship, as well as some additional insight into this neglected epoch in the history of the economic analysis of law.

Keywords: Coase theorem, law and economics

JEL Classification: K00, B2

Suggested Citation

Medema , Steven G., Debating Law's Irrelevance: Legal Scholarship and the Coase Theorem in the 1960s (August 6, 2014). Texas A&M Law Review 2 (December 2014).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2188719 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2188719

Steven G. Medema (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Denver - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
United States

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