Law’s Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters

Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters Author David D. Friedman
ISBN-10 0691090092
ISBN-13 9780691090092
Year 2001-11-01
Pages 344
Language English
Publisher Princeton University Press
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What does economics have to do with law Suppose legislators propose that armed robbers receive life imprisonment Editorial pages applaud them for getting tough on crime Constitutional lawyers raise the issue of cruel and unusual punishment Legal philosophers ponder questions of justness An economist on the other hand observes that making the punishment for armed robbery the same as that for murder encourages muggers to kill their victims This is the cut to the chase quality that makes economics not only applicable to the interpretation of law but beneficial to its crafting Drawing on numerous commonsense examples in addition to his extensive knowledge of Chicago school economics David D Friedman offers a spirited defense of the economic view of law He clarifies the relationship between law and economics in clear prose that is friendly to students lawyers and lay readers without sacrificing the intellectual heft of the ideas presented Friedman is the ideal spokesman for an approach to law that is controversial not because it overturns the conclusions of traditional legal scholars it can be used to advocate a surprising variety of political positions including both sides of such contentious issues as capital punishment but rather because it alters the very nature of their arguments For example rather than viewing landlord tenant law as a matter of favoring landlords over tenants or tenants over landlords an economic analysis makes clear that a bad law injures both groups in the long run And unlike traditional legal doctrines economics offers a unified approach one that applies the same fundamental ideas to understand and evaluate legal rules in contract property crime tort and every other category of law whether in modern day America or other times and places and systems of non legal rules such as social norms as well This book will undoubtedly raise the discourse on the increasingly important topic of the economics of law giving both supporters and critics of the economic perspective a place to organize their ideas

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