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An Austrian approach to law and economics, with special reference to superstition

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  • Peter Leeson

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Abstract

This paper has two purposes. First, it considers what the components of an “Austrian” law and economics might consist of. I argue that Ronald Coase’s conception of law and economics precludes the economic analysis of legal institutions and, in particular, the beliefs that support them. In doing so, Coase’s conception precludes an Austrian law and economics. In contrast, Richard Posner’s conception of law and economics makes such analysis the core of its study. In doing so, Posner’s conception provides a productive foundation for an Austrian law and economics. Second, to illustrate what some aspects of an Austrian law and economics might look like in practice, I consider several examples of the economic analysis of beliefs of import for the law. I focus on objectively false beliefs, or superstitions, and argue that some such beliefs are socially productive. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Leeson, 2012. "An Austrian approach to law and economics, with special reference to superstition," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(3), pages 185-198, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:revaec:v:25:y:2012:i:3:p:185-198
    DOI: 10.1007/s11138-012-0179-3
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11138-012-0179-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Posner, Richard A, 1980. "A Theory of Primitive Society, with Special Reference to Law," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 1-53, April.
    2. Ronald H. Coase, 2000. "The new institutional economics," Chapters,in: Institutions, Contracts and Organizations, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Coase, R H, 1993. "Law and Economics at Chicago," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 239-254, April.
    4. Coase, R H, 1996. "Law and Economics and A. W. Brian Simpson," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 103-119, January.
    5. Douglass C. North & John Joseph Wallis & Barry R. Weingast, 2006. "A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History," NBER Working Papers 12795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Peter T. Leeson, 2014. ""God Damn": The Law and Economics of Monastic Malediction," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(1), pages 193-216.
    7. Posner, Richard A, 1993. "Gary Becker's Contributions to Law and Economics," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 211-215, June.
    8. Harnay, Sophie & Marciano, Alain, 2009. "Posner, Economics And The Law: From “Law And Economics” To An Economic Analysis Of Law," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(02), pages 215-232, June.
    9. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
    10. Posner, Richard A, 1987. "The Law and Economics Movement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 1-13, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Leeson, 2012. "The irrelevance of normative considerations for founding an Austrian law and economics: Reply to Marciano," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 355-357, December.
    2. Peter Leeson, 2014. "Pirates, prisoners, and preliterates: anarchic context and the private enforcement of law," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 365-379, June.
    3. Alain Marciano, 2012. "How far an Austrian law and economics should be Posnerian?," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 351-354, December.
    4. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:43:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10657-015-9501-4 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Austrian-Chicago synthesis; law and economics; Coase; Posner; Superstition; Beliefs; Economic analysis of law; B53; D8; K00; K49; Z12;

    JEL classification:

    • B53 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Austrian
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • K49 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Other
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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