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Do we need behavioral economics to explain law?

Abstract

Do we need behavioral economics to explain law? I analyze Judge Guido Calabresi’s claim that we do. I find that, actually, we don’t; traditional economic theory can explain law just fine.

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Notes

  1. On the difficulty of giving meaning to “society’s preferences” under assumptions more general than those that underlie the median voter model, see for instance, Arrow (1951) and Buchanan (1954).

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Acknowledgements

I thank Paola Suarez, the Editors, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Peter T. Leeson.

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This paper was prepared for the Conference on the Future of Law and Economics at Boston University School of Law, June 1–2, 2017.

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Leeson, P.T. Do we need behavioral economics to explain law?. Eur J Law Econ 48, 29–42 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10657-017-9573-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10657-017-9573-4

Keywords

  • Calabresi
  • Behavioral economics
  • Rent-seeking
  • Merit goods
  • Altruism
  • Organ sales
  • Conscription
  • Minneapolis 5% tradition
  • The Future of Law and Economics

JEL Classification

  • K00