The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 187-200

First online:

Value and exchange in law and economics: Buchanan versus posner

  • Alain MarcianoAffiliated withFaculté des Sciences Économiques, Sociales et de Gestion, Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne Email author 

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Meir Kohn’s Exchange and Value claims that economics can be organised around two opposed paradigms, the exchange and the value paradigms. In this paper, we apply this dichotomy to characterize the analyses proposed by economists in the field known as “law and economics”. We compare and contrasts the perspectives proposed by two prominent scholars—James Buchanan and Richard Posner—and argue that they, respectively, represent the exchange and the value paradigm in law and economics. More precisely, we show that Buchanan sticks to a definition of economics based on the exchange paradigm, and this leads him to define law and economics in a rather specific, different, narrower than Posner’s way to define law and economics—a definition that corresponds to a conception of economics based on the value paradigm.


Political economy Law and economics Economic analysis of law Subject matter Buchanan Posner Exchange Value

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