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The Economics of the Bill of Rights


  • Hugo M. Mialon
  • Paul H. Rubin


We elucidate, connect, and synthesize the literature that employs economics to study the individual rights and freedoms protected by the constitutional amendments comprising the Bill of Rights, especially as they relate to crime. Economics is uniquely suited to studying decisions involving tradeoffs, and each of the amendments requires tradeoffs. Emphasizing these tradeoffs allows us to discuss the constitutional rights in terms of "more or less," as opposed to taking an absolutist approach. We find that the economic literature on the amendments of the Bill of Rights is vibrant and growing, and that viewing the amendments within the framework of economics is highly useful. Copyright 2008, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Hugo M. Mialon & Paul H. Rubin, 2008. "The Economics of the Bill of Rights," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 1-60.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:10:y:2008:i:1:p:1-60

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    1. Mialon, Hugo M. & Mialon, Sue H. & Stinchcombe, Maxwell B., 2012. "Torture in counterterrorism: Agency incentives and slippery slopes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 33-41.

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