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Judicial versus "Natural" Selection of Legal Rules with an Application to Accident Law

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

Law and economics scholars argue that the common law evolves toward efficiency. Invisible hand theories suggest that the law is primarily driven by a selection process whereby inefficient laws are litigated more frequently than efficient laws, and hence are more likely to be overturned. But the preferences of judges also necessarily affect legal change. This paper models the interaction of these two forces to evaluate the efficiency claim, and then applies the conclusions to the evolution of accident law in the U.S. Specifically, it attributes the persistence of negligence to its efficiency properties, despite its having been initially selected by judges for a different reason.

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2010-27.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2010-27.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2010-27

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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: Accident law; legal change; judicial decision-making; natural selection;

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas J. Miceli, 2011. "The Use of Economics for Understanding Law: An Economist's View of the Cathedral," Working papers 2011-25, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

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