Calabresi and the Intellectual History of Law and Economics

20 Pages Posted: 18 May 2004

See all articles by Keith N. Hylton

Keith N. Hylton

Boston University - School of Law

Date Written: May 17, 2004


This essay traces the vein of thought represented by Calabresi's "The Costs of Accidents", both backward in time to examine its sources, and forward to its impact on current scholarship. I focus on three broad topics: positive versus normative law and economics, positivist versus anti-positivist thinking in law, and the assumption of rationality in law and economics.

Keywords: economic analysis of law, rationality, legal positivism, normative economics, positive economics, utilitarianism, instrumentalism, behavioral economics, optimal deterrence

JEL Classification: B29, K11, K14, K19, K49

Suggested Citation

Hylton, Keith N., Calabresi and the Intellectual History of Law and Economics (May 17, 2004). Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 04-04. Available at SSRN: or

Keith N. Hylton (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-8959 (Phone)
617-353-3077 (Fax)

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