IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

A Cognitive Approach to Law and Economics: Hayek’s Legacy

Listed author(s):
  • Angela Ambrosino


Hayek’s contribution to the analysis of law has been widely criticized and disputed. This paper shares with a recent assessment by Beaulier, Boettke and Coyne the opinion that the significance of Hayek’s legal writings and their relevance to law and economics can only be completely understood by jointly analyzing his economic theory and his legal theory. Moreover it will be argued that both theories must be reconsidered in light of Hayek’s theory of mind. This theory, in fact, represents the key element in understanding Hayek’s thought in that it gives insight into the complexity of the cognitive and psychological determinants involved in coordination processes. The latter are the main phenomena that Hayek studied, and they are also essential for understanding the emergence of customs and social institutions as described in his legal theory. From this perspective, Hayek’s legal theory is of close relevance to current research in law. His contribution suggests a different methodological approach to developing legal theory in which the analysis of the micro-foundations of human behavior is of central importance. The paper argues that inquiry of this kind can contribute to legal theory by explaining perception in decision-making processes, and it may be the first essential step toward a normative legal theory that reduces errors in legal contexts like the one currently being sought by behavioral law and economics scholars.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena in its series Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena with number 1310.

in new window

Date of creation: 2010
Handle: RePEc:usi:depfid:1310
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Piazza San Francesco 7, 53100 Siena

Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usi:depfid:1310. 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: (Carlo Zappia)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.