Externality Entrepreneurism

59 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2016 Last revised: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Lisa Grow

Lisa Grow

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

Brigham Daniels

University of Utah College of Law

Date Written: February 23, 2016


The way that economists have taught us to think about externalities — asking us to identify, measure, and internalize them — while useful, has created a substantial blind spot. According to economic thinking, the law ought to incentivize or force those who create externalities to internalize them. Yet, internalizing externalities is just one way of many that externalities shape law and politics: legal and political actors frequently employ externalities to galvanize or oppose change by strategically identifying, selecting, framing, and promoting externalities. These actors exaggerate and highlight different externalities with the aim of capturing the attention of individuals, the media, networks of interest groups, and ultimately legal and political decisionmakers. We call those who use externalities this way “externality entrepreneurs.” Externality entrepreneurism is prevalent in all levels and branches of government and in almost every area of law and policy, yet it is completely unexplored in existing scholarship. This Article seeks to remedy that neglect and begin the broader conversation about this vitally important lens. Because externality entrepreneurism is so ubiquitous and universal, understanding it is critical not only for those who wish to create change in our political and legal institutions but also for those who wish to more fully understand and evaluate the mechanisms by which such change occurs.

Keywords: externalities, entrepreneurism

Suggested Citation

Grow, Lisa and Daniels, Brigham, Externality Entrepreneurism (February 23, 2016). UC Davis Law Review, Forthcoming, BYU Law Research Paper No. 16-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2737001 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2737001

Lisa Grow (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School ( email )

430 JRCB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
United States
801-422-7434 (Phone)
801-422-0390 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law2.byu.edu/faculty/profile.php?id=31

Brigham Daniels

University of Utah College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics