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Crossing the Atlantic with Calabresi and Coase: Efficiency, Distribution, and Justice at the Origins of Economic Analysis of Law in Britain


  • Steven G. Medema

    () (University of Colorado Denver - Department of Economics)


The slow diffusion of the economic analysis of law into Europe has been much remarked upon in the literature, but the diffusion itself has not, to this point, been made the subject of historical study. The present paper examines the two earliest substantive discussions of economic analysis of law in the British literature and the somewhat unlikely sources from which these discussions emanated. In doing so, it highlights the possibilities and limitations that were seen to attend the application of economic ideas to legal thinking and points to the impediments to a broad acceptance of the economic approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven G. Medema, 2015. "Crossing the Atlantic with Calabresi and Coase: Efficiency, Distribution, and Justice at the Origins of Economic Analysis of Law in Britain," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 23(3), pages 61-88.
  • Handle: RePEc:hid:journl:v:23:y:2015:3:4:p:61-88

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