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The Market: What Lies Beneath


  • Mercuro Nicholas

    (Michigan State University)


The chapter sets forth a conceptual model of a comparative institutional approach to law and economics that can help make the meaningful alternatives known to society. The driving force behind such an approach is the need to come to grips with the interrelations between legal and economic processes. Consistent with the thrust of old and new institutional economics, institutional structure cannot merely be assumed away or taken as given; rather, institutions must be the subject of study involving a comparison of the effects of institutional alternatives on our environment, natural resources, and use of land. The chapter includes a discussion of the i) constitutional, ii) institutional, and iii) economic-impact stages of choice, focusing on four different means of social control (together with their respective property rights regimes) that serve to allocate societys scarce resources, namely the market sector (private property rights), the public sector (status rights), the communal sector (communal rights), and the openaccess resource sector (no property rights). Environmental, natural resource, and land-use examples are included in the analysis of each stage of choice in exploring the consequences of fashioning remedies within the market sector, the public sector, the communal sector, or leaving resources in the open-access resource sector. It presents a perspective that avoids the rhetorical policy stance of government versus the market by showing that economic performance is driven by i) law, ii) technology and iii) social norms. In this, the state stands as an essential complement to the market sector, the public sector, and the communal sector and not a substitute for them; each exists through the active role of government not by government forbearance.Ce chapitre présente un modèle conceptuel dune approche institutionnelle comparative en analyse économique du droit, aidant à faire connaître dautres alternatives à la société. Cette approche permettra dapprofondir, les interrelations entre les processus économiques et juridiques. Selon les principes de lancienne et de la nouvelle économie institutionnelle, la structure des institutions ne peut pas être supposée donnée ou absente de lanalyse. Plutôt, les institutions doivent être lobjet détude, et lon doit sattacher à comparer les effets des différentes alternatives sur lenvironnement, les ressources naturelles et lutilisation de la terre. Ce chapitre contient une discussion des étapes de choix constitutionnels, institutionnels et des impacts économiques. Il se concentre sur quatre moyens différents de contrôle social (en liaison avec leur régime respectif de droit de propriété), qui servent à allouer des ressources rares de la société, notamment le marché (droit de propriété privé), le secteur public (droit légiféré), le secteur de communautés (droit des communautés), le secteur des ressources daccès libre (absence de droit de propriété). Les exemples environnementaux, ceux des ressources naturelles, et de lutilisation des terres sont considérés dans lanalyse de chacune des étapes de choix, en analysant les conséquences de la confection de remèdes au sein respectivement, du secteur de marché, du secteur public, du secteur des communautés, ou lorsque lon laisse libre les ressources du secteur daccès libre. Il fournit une perspective qui évite les positions rhétoriques de politiques Etat versus marché en montrant que la performance économique est liée au droit, à la technologie et aux normes sociales. Dans cette perspective, lEtat est considéré comme un complément essentiel du marché, du secteur public, du secteur communal et non comme un substitut; chacun de ces secteurs existe à travers le rôle actif de lEtat.

Suggested Citation

  • Mercuro Nicholas, 2004. "The Market: What Lies Beneath," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 1-17, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:14:y:2004:i:2:n:2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Murray N. Rothbard, 1995. "Economic Thought Before Adam Smith," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 377.
    2. Robert L. Heilbroner, 1982. "The Socialization of the Individual in Adam Smith," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 427-439, Fall.
    3. Warren J. Samuels & Steven G. Medema & A. A. Schmid, 1997. "The Economy as a Process of Valuation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1088.
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