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The Use of Economics for Understanding Law: An Economist's View of the Cathedral

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This essay offers some observations, from the perspective of an economist, on the usefulness of economics for understanding law. Economic analysis provides a coherent theoretical framework for unifying different areas of law based on the pursuit of efficiency. It does this by recognizing common problems across different areas, which give rise to solutions that, while outwardly different, have the same underlying form. In this way, economics provides a theory of law. But economists can also learn a lot about how the economy functions by thinking more carefully about the role of law in facilitating economic activity. The success of law and economics ultimately resides in the recognition of this fundamental interrelationship between the two disciplines.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Miceli, 2011. "The Use of Economics for Understanding Law: An Economist's View of the Cathedral," Working papers 2011-25, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2011-25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2007. "The Evolution of Common Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 43-68.
    2. Miceli, Thomas J., 2012. "Judicial versus ‘natural’ selection of legal rules with an application to accident law," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(02), pages 143-159, June.
    3. Thomas J. Miceli & Kathleen Segerson, 2011. "Regulatory Takings," Working papers 2011-16, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    4. Polinsky, A Mitchell, 1980. "On the Choice between Property Rules and Liability Rules," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 233-246, April.
    5. Grady, Mark F, 1988. "Common Law Control of Strategic Behavior: Railroad Sparks and the Farmer," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 15-42, January.
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    7. Stigler, George J, 1992. "Law or Economics?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 455-468, October.
    8. Miceli, Thomas J & Segerson, Kathleen, 1994. "Regulatory Takings: When Should Compensation Be Paid?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 749-776, June.
    9. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
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    12. Miceli, Thomas J., 1991. "Optimal criminal procedure: Fairness and deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, May.
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    14. Sykes, Alan O, 1990. "The Doctrine of Commercial Impracticability in a Second-Best World," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 43-94, January.
    15. Alston, Lee J & Libecap, Gary D & Schneider, Robert, 1996. "The Determinants and Impact of Property Rights: Land Titles on the Brazilian Frontier," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 25-61, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Law and Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)

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