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Beyond Legal Relations: Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld's Influence on American Institutionalism


  • Luca Fiorito
  • Massimiliano Vatiero


This paper documents Hohfeld's influence on interwar American institutionalism. We will mainly focus on three leading figures of the movement: John Rogers Commons, Robert Lee Hale, and John Maurice Clark. They regarded Hohfeld's contribution on jural relations as a preliminary step toward the understanding of the adversarial nature of legal rights. Albeit with substantial differences in style, method and emphasis, Hohfeld's schema provided a powerful analytical and rhetorical tool for their analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Fiorito & Massimiliano Vatiero, 2011. "Beyond Legal Relations: Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld's Influence on American Institutionalism," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 199-222.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:45:y:2011:i:1:p:199-222 DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450111

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pier Francesco Asso & Luca Fiorito, 2008. "Was Frank Knight an Institutionalist?," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 59-77.
    2. repec:mes:jeciss:v:18:y:1984:i:4:p:1027-1048 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:mes:jeciss:v:34:y:2000:i:2:p:291-303 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Ugo Pagano & Massimiliano Vatiero, 2017. "Positional goods and legal orderings," Department of Economics University of Siena 773, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Ugo Pagano & Massimiliano Vatiero, 2014. "Costly Institutions as Substitutes: Novelty and Limits of the Coasian Approach," IdEP Economic Papers 1406, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    3. Antonio Nicita & Massimiliano Vatiero, 2014. "Dixit versus Williamson: the ‘fundamental transformation’ reconsidered," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 439-453, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)


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