Freiburg School of Law and Economics, Freiburg (Lehrstuhl-)Tradition and the Genesis of Norms

26 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2014

Date Written: February 4, 2014


The paper analyzes the parallels and differences between the Freiburg School of Law and Economics represented by the works of Eucken (and Röpke) and the Freiburg (Lehrstuhl-)Tradition represented by the works of Hayek and Vanberg. The parallels are illustrated by making use of the constitutional economics concepts Ordnungspolitik (i.e., order of rules/choices over rules) as well as freedom of privileges and discrimination. The differences, which have received surprisingly little attention, include the following aspects: 1. philosophy of science and epistemology, 2. genesis of norms, and 3. political philosophy. The paper tackles these issues in three steps. The second chapter presents Vanberg’s constitutional economics theory with special emphasis on the concepts of citizen sovereignty and normative individualism. The third chapter reviews the ordoliberal concepts of science and the state which are – to a certain degree – elitist and expertocratic, that is, they rely to a considerable degree on intellectual experts (in particular, scientists) being part of the societal elite. The fourth chapter differentiates two kinds of genesis of norms: an evolutionary one and an elitist-expertocratic one allowing for a differentiation between Eucken’s and Röpke’s Ordoliberalism on the on the hand and Vanberg’s Hayekian -- and Buchanan-style constitutional economics approach on the other hand. The paper ends with a summary of the main findings.

Keywords: Freiburg School of Law and Economics, Freiburg (Lehrstuhl-)Tradition, genesis of norms, Walter Eucken, Wilhelm Röpke, Friedrich August von Hayek, Viktor Vanberg

Suggested Citation

Wörsdörfer, Manuel, Freiburg School of Law and Economics, Freiburg (Lehrstuhl-)Tradition and the Genesis of Norms (February 4, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Manuel Wörsdörfer (Contact Author)

University of Maine ( email )

Orono, ME 04469
United States

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