Expressive Law and Economics
This article develops an economic theory of expressive law. By expressing social values, law can tip a system of social norms into a new equilibrium. This process can create or destroy a social norm without changing individual values. In addition, law can change the individual values of rational people. Internalizing a social norm is a moral commitment that attaches a psychological penalty to a forbidden act. A rational person internalizes a norm when commitment conveys an advantage relative to the original preferences and the changed preferences. I call such a commitment a Pareto self-improvement. By creating opportunities for Pareto self-improvements, law induces rational people to change their preferences. Inducing change in this way respects individual preferences, rather favoring a particular moral theory.
|Date of creation:||01 Jan 1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Fax: (510) 642-3767
Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/blewp/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:oplwec:qt3w34j60j. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.