Sidgwick's Utilitarian Analysis of Law: A Bridge from Bentham to Becker?

24 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2004  

Steven G. Medema

University of Colorado Denver - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1, 2004

Abstract

Jeremy Bentham's utilitarian analysis of crime and punishment is regularly characterized as an inspiration for the economic analysis of law, whereas Henry Sidgwick has been all but ignored in the discussions of the history of law and economics. Sidgwick is well known as the godfather of Cambridge welfare economics. Yet, as we will show, his utilitarian analysis of issues in property, contract, tort, and, criminal law reflect themes now associated with the Chicago approach and advance on Bentham in multiple ways - including through the use of marginal analysis - making him a bridge on the road between Bentham and Becker.

Keywords: Bentham, Sidgwick, utilitarianism

JEL Classification: B13, K00, K42

Suggested Citation

Medema , Steven G., Sidgwick's Utilitarian Analysis of Law: A Bridge from Bentham to Becker? (July 1, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=560842 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.560842

Steven G. Medema (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Denver - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
United States

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