Expressive Law and Economics
AbstractThis article develops an economic theory of expressive law. By expressing social values, law can tip a system of social norms into a new equilibrium. This process can create or destroy a social norm without changing individual values. In addition, law can change the individual values of rational people. Internalizing a social norm is a moral commitment that attaches a psychological penalty to a forbidden act. A rational person internalizes a norm when commitment conveys an advantage relative to the original preferences and the changed preferences. I call such a commitment a Pareto self-improvement. By creating opportunities for Pareto self-improvements, law induces rational people to change their preferences. Inducing change in this way respects individual preferences, rather favoring a particular moral theory.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics in its series Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt3w34j60j.
Date of creation: 01 Jan 1998
Date of revision:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.