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Order without Law: a Review of the Russian Edition of Robert Ellickson’s Book


  • Kadochnikov, Denis

    () (Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of SPbU)


Gaidar Institute Publishing House has published the Russian translation of the book by the famous American Professor Robert Ellickson. The book describes the phenomenon of stable social order forming independently of legal system. Ellickson is not only interested in the mere fact of the formation and stability of informal norms, but also in the existence of non­legal approach to dispute settlement, including disputes related to legal rights violation. In his book, Robert Ellickson brings together theoretical assumptions and methods used in two important schools or traditions in the study of the interaction of law and social phenomena that emerged in the United States, namely in the “Law and Society” movement and in the “Law and Economics” movement. The practical basis of the research was a detailed study by the author of the dispute resolution practices among farmers in Shasta County located in the U.S. state of California. Based on the solid theoretical foundation as well as on the results of field research, the author concludes that the order based on law and enforced by state institutions, and the order formed without law and the state exist simultaneously, complementing each other. Ellickson offers his own theoretical interpretation of social control and its elements, based on who exercises control, who monitors the adherence to or violation of rules, and who rewards or punishes it. Firmly grounded both theoretically and empirically the findings of Ellickson’s study are an important and helpful reminder about objective limits of effective government intervention in society and economy and about limited role of law in human life.

Suggested Citation

  • Kadochnikov, Denis, 2017. "Order without Law: a Review of the Russian Edition of Robert Ellickson’s Book," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 250-256, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:rnp:ecopol:ep1710

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ellickson, Robert C, 1998. "Law and Economics Discovers Social Norms," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 537-552, June.
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    More about this item


    economics; law; informal norms; social order;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)


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