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The Law and Economics of Norms

42 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2013  

Juliet P. Kostritsky

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: June 17, 2013


This Article examines the increased importance of norms in the law and economics of exchange. By studying how private parties bring order despite the absence of a coercive state and the idea of a norm as the result of an exchange that originates in the brain to accommodate all competing costs, one can better understand how modern states, private agreements, public laws, and market economies work in conjunction with the norms and human behavior patterns that underlie all communities. These institutions of norms, public law, private law and agreements, the state, and markets are all alternative and complementary ways of (and sometimes substitutes for) addressing the same problem of social ordering to maximize welfare. The core argument is that parties are driven by cost minimization to select the best mix of institutional supports for the facilitation of exchange and that cost minimization strategy should guide courts in determining whether to provide legal sanctions to norms.

Keywords: norms, law and norms, law and economics, cost minimization, self-enforcing norms, social enforcement norms, contratcs, private agreements

JEL Classification: K00, K12

Suggested Citation

Kostritsky, Juliet P., The Law and Economics of Norms (June 17, 2013). 48 Texas International Law Journal 465 (2013) ; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-13. Available at SSRN:

Juliet P. Kostritsky (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
216-368-3982 (Phone)

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