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General and Specific Legal Rules

Author

Listed:
  • Paul G. Mahoney
  • Chris William Sanchirico

Abstract

Legal rules may be general (that is, applicable to a broad range of situations) or specific. Adopting a custom-tailored rule for a specific activity permits the regulator to make efficient use of information about the social costs and benefits of that activity. However, the rule maker typically relies on the regulated parties for such information. The regulated parties may attempt to influence the rule maker, producing rules that reflect their private interests. We show that in some cases limiting the rule maker to a single rule for multiple activities will moderate this influence and maximize welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul G. Mahoney & Chris William Sanchirico, 2005. "General and Specific Legal Rules," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(2), pages 329-329, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200506)161:2_329:gaslr_2.0.tx_2-t
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shavell, Steven, 1997. "The Fundamental Divergence between the Private and the Social Motive to Use the Legal System," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 575-612, June.
    2. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
    3. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991. "Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 562-570.
    4. Che, Yeon-Koo & Yi, Jong Goo, 1993. "The Role of Precedents in Repeated Litigation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 399-424, October.
    5. Kornhauser, Lewis A & Revesz, Richard L, 1994. "Multidefendant Settlements: The Impact of Joint and Several Liability," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 41-76, January.
    6. Che, Yeon-Koo, 1996. "Equilibrium formation of class action suits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 339-361, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Deffains & Marie Obidzinski, 2009. "Real Options Theory for Law Makers," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 75(1), pages 93-117.
    2. Christoph Engel & Urs Schweizer, 2005. "Editorial Preface," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(2), pages 191-191, June.
    3. Stefan Voigt, 2006. "Robust political economy: The case of antitrust," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 19(2), pages 203-215, June.
    4. repec:oup:jcomle:v:2:y:2006:i:2:p:215-244. is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Monheim-Helstroffer, Jenny & Obidzinski, Marie, 2010. "Optimal discretion in asylum lawmaking," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 86-97, March.
    6. Arndt Christiansen and Wolfgang Kerber & Wolfgang Kerber, 2006. "Competition Policy with Optimally Differentiated Rules Instead of "Per se Rules vs. Rule of Reason"," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200606, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. Robin Christmann, 2014. "No Judge, No Job! Court errors and the contingent labor contract," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 409-429, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

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