Economic Analysis of Law, or Economically-Informed Legal Research
Forthcoming in Dawn Watkins and Mandy Burton (eds), Research Methods in Law, 2nd edn (Routledge, 2017)
24 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2016 Last revised: 1 Aug 2016
Date Written: June 20, 2016
In this chapter, I reflect on the topic of ‘lay decision-making in the legal system’ from the perspective of the economic analysis of law. Or, in other words, I look at the ways in which economic theory and insight can help resolve issues of legal decision-making by providing both a methodology for the analysis of the legal reality to which the decision relates (that is, contributing to the decision-making process by structuring it and helping us focus on relevant factors), and a normative framework and workable criteria to favour some alternatives over others (i.e. providing a decision-making benchmark). Broadly, then, I am concerned with the question of how economic analysis can help us improve legal decision-making. After this broad overview, and in order to stress the link with the rest of the contributions to this book, I briefly focus on the potential application of some of these theories to research that aims to assess specific issues of lay decision-making in the legal system. Some final thoughts stress the importance of carrying out economically-informed legal research more generally.
Keywords: economic analysis of law, law and economics, economically-informed legal research, legal methodology
JEL Classification: B40, K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation