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Legal Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change


  • Whitman Douglas Glen

    (California State University)


The notion of entrepreneurship developed by Israel Kirzner has applications far beyond the market process. Legal entrepreneurs are lawyers, activists, and other participants in the legal process who are alert to opportunities to alter legal rules, thereby benefiting themselves or their clients. Legal entrepreneurship creates a dynamic that can generate virtually continuous change in the structure of legal rights and duties. On the one hand, the notion of legal entrepreneurship is a testament to the value of Kirzners project. But on the other, it creates a serious problem for Kirzners conception of welfare economics, which depends on the existence of a stable background of property rights. If the notion of entrepreneurship implies continual change in property rights, then the power of Kirznerian welfare economics is substantially curtailed.La notion desprit dentreprise développée par Israel Kirzner a des applications qui vont bien au-delà du processus de marché. Les entrepreneurs juridiques sont les avocats, les activistes et autres participants au processus juridique qui ont conscience des opportunités de transformer les règles de droit, que ce soit pour leur propre bénéfice ou pour celui de leurs clients. Lentrepreneuriat juridique crée une dynamique qui peut générer des changements presque continus dans la structure des droits légaux et des devoirs. Dune part, la notion dentrepreneuriat juridique est un témoignage de la valeur du projet de Kirzner. Mais dautre part, il crée un sérieux problème quant à sa conception de léconomie du bien-être de Kirzner qui repose sur lexistence dune structure stable de droits de propriété. Si la notion desprit dentreprise implique un changement continuel dans les droits de propriété, alors la portée de léconomie du bienêtre de Kirzner est substantiellement réduite.

Suggested Citation

  • Whitman Douglas Glen, 2002. "Legal Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-13, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:12:y:2002:i:2:n:6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1976. "Legal Precedent: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 249-307, August.
    2. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-841, August.
    3. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1992. "Product Introduction with Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 55-83, March.
    4. Miceli, Thomas J. & Cosgel, Metin M., 1994. "Reputation and judicial decision-making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 31-51, January.
    5. Michael L. Katz & Carl Shapiro, 1994. "Systems Competition and Network Effects," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 93-115, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Harper, David A., 2013. "Property rights, entrepreneurship and coordination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 62-77.

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