20 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2003
Date Written: February 2003
This paper contains a chapter on the general structure of the law from a forthcoming book, Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law (Harvard University Press, 2003). In this chapter, I consider basic features of the legal system, including whether the law directly constrains behavior or channels it by the threat of sanctions, and whether the law is brought into play by private legal action or involves public enforcement. I investigate the conditions under which one or another structure of law will be socially desirable, and I then discuss tort, contract, criminal law, and several other areas of law in the light of the analysis of the optimal structure of the law.
JEL Classification: D00, D6, D8, K00, H00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Shavell, Steven, Economic Analysis of the General Structure of the Law (February 2003). Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 408. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=383443 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.383443
By Paul Mensink