Talk:Law and economics

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  • Discussion of differences between positive and normative law and economics is getting better, but still needs work, if anyone has time.
  • The introductory paragraph contains some interesting material, but (perhaps because it largely discusses what law and economics does not mean) is quite far afield from what most American academics/lawyers think of as law and economics. Perhaps this material should be moved down in article.--Sjsilverman 05:55, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

The following comments were made before June 2004[edit]

This is just a beginning on this very large and complex topic. Help appreciated. User:Lsolum

It appears to me to be a neoclassical economics aficionado's name for political economy, as it was known from Adam Smith to Ralph Nader. That field is properly about how both law and economy derive from a polity that puts specific values on different factors of production, assigns property rights and interprets them. Would advise reading some of these other wiki's views: two old articles from here, Disinfopedia (classical) view, and the entire long page history of political economy here, marked by various edit wars between notably User:Enchanter and User:Slrubenstein. Hope this helps. EofT
If you agree with my assertion, then, recommend that this material be merged with political economy with law and economics as an alternative name, a redirect, and perhaps a subheading. Then all views on this from all theories of economics are in one place. EofT


No, law and economics is a separate discipline, and is probably the most influential new theory of law in the 20th century. Any law student, lawyer, judge, political scientist, law professor, or undergraduate pre-law student would expect a distinct entry on this topic.

By all means give it to them. But, it is not a new theory, it is only a new title. Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill explicitly studied the "economy of polities" as they described political economy, which is a macro-version of this question, and the neoclassical libertarians have done a great deal to apply economic math to legal and political questions. The older political economy articles dealt with this although not in the depth that you have, naming the specific economic models which have been applied to the legal questions. EofT

There are dozens of textbooks, hundreds of courses, and a major scholarly association devoted to law and economics. User:Lsolum

Hm, and, and, how much of this is American, and wholly motivated by trying to avoid the Marxist economics implications of the term political economy as it is used at, say, the London School of Economics? American legal and economic theory is second rate, as you well know if you work in this field, and typically quite uninformed by the Marxist dialogue, the entire queer and postmodern dialogue on law and control of language and terms - never mind failing to deal at all with colonialism or other "imposed law". I suspect this "cleaned up" concept of "how to justify law using economics" has about the same ontological status as those textbooks printed in Nebraska that teach Afghans math with hand grenades thrown at commie infidels, or the American Heritage Dictionary or some such trash. The topic should be dealt with, but, this is not a textbook on American legal theory. If you wish to write that, go to our textbooks project. Leave it here, and, it will soon be annotated if not festooned with commentary on the motives, objectives, funders and intent of this neat attempt to sidestep the whole dialogue on this topic as developed in Europe. EofT
This comment leaves me at a loss as to how to continue. Law and economics is something that would be included in a comprehensive encyclopedia. It would be entirely proper to include discussion of political economy and various critiques of the law and economics movement, but this comment suggests that the wikipedia community will not support an entry that provides the information that an interested reader would need to understand what the law and economics movement is about, what it says, and how it has been criticized. - User:Lsolum
My mistake. I'll be clearer - YES we will support such a comprehensive entry - not a simple extension of the stub to describe "what its advocates think it is". BUT it would be hard to keep that comprehensive article from having vast overlap with the political economy scope, AND it would seem to give more credence to neoclassical economics, which gives great weight the use of economic math to justify law that disposes of bodies, unless the critique is harsh indeed. So a separate article like this one should probably make clear it is a micro-economic view of political economy, and that derived from neoclassicl economics. Political economy itself would deal with its economic implications, and law with its legal ones (maybe a paragraph). EofT
This isn't the place to outline the differences, but if you take a look at any standard textbook on law and economics you will see that there is very little overlap in practice with political economy. Although in theory, these fields might overlap, in practice law and economics focuses on a narrower set of questions that are usually too specialized for political economy. User:Lsolum
If they're "too specialized" that suggests this is micro-economic and political economy is macro-economic. Does that seem right to you? Also I am suspicious of "theory versus practice" arguments. Do those making the political economy arguments believe that? Admittedly many think micro- stuff always applies in the macro (the neoclassical disease), and that macro-stuff always applies in the micro (the Marxist's syndrome). There's a balance. I'll wait to see the results. EofT
If it can't stand on its own without bringing in *all* the debates in political economy, Wikipedia protocol in this situation is to have ONE article with TWO names, via the "redirect" facility which lets you link to one name, and have the Wikipedia bring up another. That alternate name is typically boldfaced to indicate that it is a fully legitimate alternate term. See instant runoff voting which I think has some alternative names, equally legitimate, and se of nation-specific origins. EofT
On a personal note, I am very familiar with political economy, with Marxist theories of law, and a variety of other approaches that are inconsistent with law and economics. And I'm not myself a proponent of this school of thought. - User:Lsolum
Good, because generally if one is, one writes more biased articles. Many of these issues will become clear as the stub expands I am sure. The above should in no way be interpreted as an aspersion on yourself. Indeed, your ability to expound on the issues you have, shows you transcend your place of work.  ;-) EofT
The law and economics approach is now very influential throughout Europe, both in the legal academy and in economics departments. It is simply no longer the case that this is an American approach.- User:Lsolum
That too should be stated. But, I caution, the nuclear weapon, genetically modified organisms and promotion of molecular engineering have also spread beyond the USA where they were conceived, and this is also not seen as a good thing. Any theory that originates with a group with clear political coherence, ought to be attributed here to that group, and not presented as an emergent field that came from a cross-national consensus. EofT
The entry can sort some of this out. Law and economics has both right and left tendancies, with a neoclassical wing and a social welfare (Berman-Samuelson) wing. User:Lsolum
Fine. Is there also a green tendency? It seems I have heard many arguments made in economic language about natural capital for instance, and various arguments about supply and demand in ecology being modelld in the same ways as in economics, and this forming a new view of economics. Lester Thurow for instance puts "the environment" at the very base of his pyramid of value - a macro view. Also there is the critique of debt from this perspective in creditary economics. All of these involve pointing out some bias from consumerism, productivism, or just ignoring the way nature's services supply resources and deal with wastes. This can be *very* micro. Nano even.  ;-) EofT
Green tendancy in law and economics. Don't clutter this entry with ideas that belong in other entires. -User:NashEquilbrium
Agreed it should not be cluttered, nor more than mentioned if it's not debated under that name. But I think specifically of Lynn Margulis's view that "Economy is the study of how humans make a living. Ecology is the study of how other species make a living." Thus the linking concept of natural law as a source of human law, and the basis of economics as necessary requiring both. So even if the field "law and economics" does not notice this, yet, it is certainly an issue in "law" and "economics". You see? EofT
Thank you for the comments.- User:Lsolum
So polite. I suspect you are a closet Canadian.  ;-) EofT

Nice work so far. I'm a student so I won't kid you with any attempts at advice but as someone new to the topic, your page is a good introduction. I came across your article via the libertarian theories of law page and only then as an afterthought because of a book I recently read, B. Caldwell's Hayek's Challenge. The subtitle 'An intellectual history' pretty well sums it up. I'd initially picked it up to fill in some holes I had concerning Hayek's work in economics so I was surprised to find he'd ventured into jurisprudence. Imagine my added surprise when I found your page and, low and behold, law and econ is an independent field of study. As a poli-sci student about to graduate, the fact that I've never heard of it makes me seriously question the quality of my education. But enough with the complaining, just a question: Are the books you cited by Coase and Posner suitable starting points for a noob? I'm fairly familiar with political economy. My primary concern is an illustration of the ideological differences between the two. User:Silas

By the bye, EofT got quite the raw deal.User:Silas

Very good so far. One addition to the criticism section (maybe I can add to this when I find some time): a lot of law professors argue against L&E analysis because the focus on efficiency diverges with the law's underlying goal of "justice," which of course can be defined many ways. They also feel that much of the popularity of L&E can be attributed to people wanting a system to explain decisions, and (lazily, in the minds of some) taking the L&E approach instead of thinking about such decisions on a deeper level. Will try to flesh this out a bit in January if nobody else does before then. Thanks! User:SunilSuri

Possible bias?[edit]

The article spends more time on the critiques of Economics and Law than the definition and explanation. It seems that much of the writing is truthful but written by a critic. Not a major tilt, but a more knowledgable member of the Economics and Law community should add more content if possible..

Perhaps a criticism section should be created, or at least more thorough application of definitions and basics. I came to the site to test my understanding of pareto optimal, and the definition is lost by the technical criticisms. Its like a straw man fallacy, except where the actual man is just on fire. Hard to see his face through the flames. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:46, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Educational resources[edit]

Some UK academics who teach Economic Analysis of Law have put some open courseware at [1] (sub-pages via the left navigation bar). I'm personally involved with the project so it would be a WP:COI for me to add it to this article. However, I recommend the files to this article's editors, to consider as external links or even as sources. MartinPoulter (talk) 10:58, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Dr. Miceli's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Miceli has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:

This article gives a good brief review of the history of modern law and economics, especially as it arose in its current (mainstream) form from Chicago under the leadership of Aaron Director. A glaring omission is in the listing of major scholars in the field. Not included is Steven Shavell from Harvard Law School, who, though not strictly a "founding father" of the movement, has surely been the most important and prolific practitioner beginning in the 1970s and continuing today. Much of the current shape of the field, and many innovative methodologies, are due to his work, some of which has been done in collaboration with Mitchell Polinsky (who is listed). Strangely, Shavell's recent (2004) treatise on Law and Economics is included in the reference list. I found nothing in accurate in the article, and while the bibliography included most of the key references, there were some others that seemed rather obscure to me. Possibly this was a consequence of the author's effort to give a broad view of the field, accounting for various perspectives.

We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

Dr. Miceli has published scholarly research which seems to be relevant to this Wikipedia article:

  • Reference : Paul Hallwood & Thomas J. Miceli, 2014. "Modern Maritime Piracy," Working papers 2014-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

ExpertIdeasBot (talk) 18:04, 27 June 2016 (UTC)