Legal Realism for Economists
Economists have made great progress in understanding the incentives and behavior of actors who operate outside of traditional economic markets, including voters, legislators, and bureaucrats. The incentives and behavior of judges, however, remain largely opaque. Do judges act as neutral third-party enforcers of substantive decisions made by others? Are judges "ordinary" policymakers who advance whatever outcomes they favor without any special consideration for law as such? Emerging recent scholarship has started to explore more nuanced conceptions of how law, facts, and judicial preferences may interact to influence judicial decisions. This work develops a perspective on judging that can usefully be understood as the modern manifestation of American Legal Realism, a jurisprudential movement of lawyers, judges, and law professors that flourished in the early twentieth century. The purpose of this essay is to introduce, in simplified form, the Realist account of judicial decision making; to contrast this view with alternative theories about law and judging; and to sketch out how a more explicit integration of the Realists' conceptual insights about law and judicial behavior might enrich the rapidly expanding economic work in this field.
Volume (Year): 23 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Charles M. Cameron, 2007. "Bargaining and Opinion Assignment on the US Supreme Court," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 276-302, June.
- Anthony Niblett & Richard A. Posner & Andrei Shleifer, .
"The Evolution of a Legal Rule,"
19510, Harvard University OpenScholar.
- Anthony Niblett & Richard Posner & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "The Evolution of a Legal Rule," NBER Working Papers 13856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shleifer, Andrei & Niblett, Anthony & Posner, Richard A., 2010. "The Evolution of a Legal Rule," Scholarly Articles 8687032, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Gennaioli, Nicola & Shleifer, Andrei, 2007.
"Overruling and the instability of law,"
Journal of Comparative Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 309-328, June.
- Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2006.
"Judicial Fact Discretion,"
NBER Working Papers
12679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rasmusen, Eric, 1994.
"Judicial Legitimacy as a Repeated Game,"
Journal of Law, Economics and Organization,
Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 63-83, April.
- Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2007.
"The Evolution of Common Law,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 43-68.
- Gely, Rafael & Spiller, Pablo T., 1992. "The political economy of supreme court constitutional decisions: The case of Roosevelt's court-packing plan," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 45-67, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:23:y:2009:i:2:p:191-211. See general 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: (Jane Voros)or (Michael P. Albert)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.