Economic Approaches to Legal Reasoning

15 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2019

See all articles by Péter Cserne

Péter Cserne

University of Aberdeen - School of Law; Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Date Written: December 19, 2019


Economic analysis has contributed to a better understanding and a better functioning of law at different levels of generality. As far as legal reasoning is concerned, these contributions fall into two large groups. Economics in legal reasoning concerns arguments about the purposes and consequences of legal rules and principles that are acceptable in court as legally relevant, including (1) predictions of the likely consequences of alternative legal decisions; (2) technical normative arguments about the best means to achieve a legally determined purpose, and (3) welfarist normative arguments about the desirable goals of specific laws. Economics of legal reasoning, in turn, includes (1) explanatory models of legal processes in terms of rational activity of individuals, corporate entities as well as legal officials, and (2) normative proposals concerning the design of legal processes i.e. the structure of law as institutional practice.

Keywords: economics in legal reasoning, economics of legal reasoning, wealth-maximization, consequence-based arguments, teleological reasoning, economics of legal procedure

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Cserne, Péter, Economic Approaches to Legal Reasoning (December 19, 2019). TILEC Discussion Paper No. DP2019-033, Available at SSRN: or

Péter Cserne (Contact Author)

University of Aberdeen - School of Law ( email )

Taylor Building
King's College
Aberdeen, Scotland AB24 3UB
United Kingdom

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE

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