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Beyond Facile Assumptions and Radical Assertions: A Case for Critical Legal Economics

46 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2004 Last revised: 24 Feb 2009

Reza Dibadj

University of San Francisco - School of Law


This piece takes issue with the conventional wisdom that economic and critical approaches to law are incompatible. It argues that the facile assumptions behind the popular conception of law and economics, as well as the radical assertions characterizing traditional critical legal studies, mask the potential of each approach. Once stripped of this baggage, each reveals rich insights which, when combined, can serve as the basis for a new path. Critical legal economics is an interdisciplinary venture that seeks to apply the discipline of economic thought to prevent utopian speculation, while addressing a series of critical questions-around wealth disparities, information asymmetries, and the like. In its desire to address both the inequalities of neoclassicism and the bureaucracy of the administrative state, critical legal economics is neither strictly contractarian nor progressive in its orientation, but seeks to build on both perspectives. Its ultimate goal must be to fashion incentives that enhance public participation in civic life. The approach offered should thus not merely serve as a tool of social science, but rather can fruitfully inform normative legal discourse.

Keywords: Law and economics, critical legal studies

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Dibadj, Reza mname, Beyond Facile Assumptions and Radical Assertions: A Case for Critical Legal Economics. Utah Law Review, Vol. 2003, p. 1155, 2003. Available at SSRN:

Reza Dibadj (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States
415-422-5253 (Phone)

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