Friedrich A. Hayek

11 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2018

See all articles by Edward Peter Stringham

Edward Peter Stringham

Trinity College

Todd J. Zywicki

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: November 20, 2017


F.A. Hayek focused on many traditional economic questions, and also made important contributions to law and economics. His framework differed from Kaldor Hicks efficiency and the wealth maximization norm common among neoclassical law and economics scholars. But he talked about how the common law evolves and helps shape economic outcomes. Underlying this approach was Hayek’s conviction that the essence of law is not created by the state, but rather preexists in the conventions and understandings within a community. Hayek argued that the role of the judge in a common-law system is to discover the law in the imminent consensus of norms and expectations. Hayek’s work has many implications for positive analysis and normative discussions of what judges should or should not do. To Hayek, the primary purpose of the law is not a wealth maximization problem, but to provide a stable institutional framework in a dynamic world that enables individuals to plan and coordinate.

Keywords: Hayek, biography, law and economics, legislature, judiciary, neoclassical

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Stringham, Edward Peter and Zywicki, Todd J., Friedrich A. Hayek (November 20, 2017). George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 18-04, Available at SSRN: or

Edward Peter Stringham

Trinity College ( email )

300 Summit Street
Hartford, CT 06106
United States

Todd J. Zywicki (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8091 (Phone)
703-993-8088 (Fax)

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics