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An Austrian approach to law and economics, with special reference to superstition

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  • Peter Leeson

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Abstract

This paper has two purposes. First, it considers what the components of an “Austrian” law and economics might consist of. I argue that Ronald Coase’s conception of law and economics precludes the economic analysis of legal institutions and, in particular, the beliefs that support them. In doing so, Coase’s conception precludes an Austrian law and economics. In contrast, Richard Posner’s conception of law and economics makes such analysis the core of its study. In doing so, Posner’s conception provides a productive foundation for an Austrian law and economics. Second, to illustrate what some aspects of an Austrian law and economics might look like in practice, I consider several examples of the economic analysis of beliefs of import for the law. I focus on objectively false beliefs, or superstitions, and argue that some such beliefs are socially productive. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11138-012-0179-3
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal The Review of Austrian Economics.

Volume (Year): 25 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 185-198

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Handle: RePEc:kap:revaec:v:25:y:2012:i:3:p:185-198

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100335

Related research

Keywords: Austrian-Chicago synthesis; law and economics; Coase; Posner; Superstition; Beliefs; Economic analysis of law; B53; D8; K00; K49; Z12;

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References

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  1. Harnay, Sophie & Marciano, Alain, 2009. "Posner, Economics And The Law: From “Law And Economics” To An Economic Analysis Of Law," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(02), pages 215-232, June.
  2. Posner, Richard A, 1980. "A Theory of Primitive Society, with Special Reference to Law," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 1-53, April.
  3. Douglass C North & John Joseph Wallis & Barry R. Weingast, 2006. "A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History," NBER Working Papers 12795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Coase, R H, 1996. "Law and Economics and A. W. Brian Simpson," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 103-19, January.
  5. Posner, Richard A, 1993. "Gary Becker's Contributions to Law and Economics," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 211-15, June.
  6. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
  7. Coase, R H, 1993. "Law and Economics at Chicago," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 239-54, April.
  8. Coase, Ronald, 1998. "The New Institutional Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 72-74, May.
  9. Posner, Richard A, 1987. "The Law and Economics Movement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 1-13, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Peter Leeson, 2012. "The irrelevance of normative considerations for founding an Austrian law and economics: Reply to Marciano," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 355-357, December.

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