Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Legal History

Law and Economics

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Articles 1 - 16 of 16

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Marginalist Revolution In Corporate Finance: 1880-1965, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2011

The Marginalist Revolution In Corporate Finance: 1880-1965, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries fundamental changes in economic thought revolutionized the theory of corporate finance, leading to changes in its legal regulation. The changes were massive, and this branch of financial analysis and law became virtually unrecognizable to those who had practiced it earlier. The source of this revision was the marginalist, or neoclassical, revolution in economic thought. The classical theory had seen corporate finance as an historical, relatively self-executing inquiry based on the classical theory of value and administered by common law courts. By contrast, neoclassical value theory was forward looking and as a result ...


Coase, Institutionalism, And The Origins Of Law And Economics, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2011

Coase, Institutionalism, And The Origins Of Law And Economics, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Ronald Coase merged two traditions in economics, marginalism and institutionalism. Neoclassical economics in the 1930s was characterized by an abstract conception of marginalism and frictionless resource movement. Marginal analysis did not seek to uncover the source of individual human preference or value, but accepted preference as given. It treated the business firm in the same way, focusing on how firms make market choices, but saying little about their internal workings.

“Institutionalism” historically refers to a group of economists who wrote mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. Their place in economic theory is outside the mainstream, but they have found new ...


Coasean Markets, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Aug 2010

Coasean Markets, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Coase’s work emphasized the economic importance of very small markets and made a new, more marginalist form of economic “institutionalism” acceptable within mainstream economics. A Coasean market is an association of persons with competing claims on a legal entitlement that can be traded. The boundaries of both Coasean markets and Coasean firms are determined by measuring not only the costs of bargaining but also the absolute costs of moving resources from one place to another. The boundaries of a Coasean market, just as those of the Coasean business firm, are defined by the line where the marginal cost of ...


Tracking Berle's Footsteps: The Trail Of The Modern Corporation's Law Chapter, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Jan 2010

Tracking Berle's Footsteps: The Trail Of The Modern Corporation's Law Chapter, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Law Of Vertical Integration And The Business Firm: 1880-1960, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

The Law Of Vertical Integration And The Business Firm: 1880-1960, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Vertical integration occurs when a firm does something for itself that it could otherwise procure on the market. For example, a manufacturer that opens its own stores is said to be vertically integrated into distribution. One irony of history is that both classical political economy and neoclassicism saw vertical integration and vertical contractual arrangements as much less threatening to competition than cartels or other horizontal arrangements. Nevertheless, vertical integration has produced by far the greater amount of legislation at both federal and state levels and has motivated many more political action groups. Two things explain this phenomenon. First, while economists ...


Race, Sex, And Rulemaking: Administrative Constitutionalism And The Workplace, 1960 To The Present, Sophia Z. Lee Jan 2010

Race, Sex, And Rulemaking: Administrative Constitutionalism And The Workplace, 1960 To The Present, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Neal Report And The Crisis In Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Mar 2009

The Neal Report And The Crisis In Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Neal Report, which was commissioned by Lyndon Johnson and published in 1967, is rightfully criticized for representing the past rather than the future of antitrust. Its authors completely embraced a theory of competition and industrial organization that had dominated American economic thinking for forty years, but was just in the process of coming to an end. The structure-conduct-performance (S-C-P) paradigm that the Neal Report embodied had in fact been one of the most elegant and most tested theories of industrial organization. The theory represented the high point of structuralism in industrial organization economics, resting on the proposition that certain ...


Neoclassicism And The Separation Of Ownership And Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2009

Neoclassicism And The Separation Of Ownership And Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

"Separation of ownership and control" is a phrase whose history will forever be associated with Adolf A. Berle and Gardiner C. Means' The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932), as well as with Institutionalist economics, Legal Realism, and the New Deal. Within that milieu the large publicly held business corporation became identified with excessive managerial power at the expense of stockholders, social irresponsibility, and internal inefficiency. Neoclassical economists both then and ever since have generally been critical, both of the historical facts that Berle and Means purported to describe and of the conclusions that they drew. In fact, however, within ...


The Coase Theorem And Arthur Cecil Pigou, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Dec 2008

The Coase Theorem And Arthur Cecil Pigou, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In "The Problem of Social Cost" Ronald Coase was highly critical of the work of Cambridge University Economics Professor Arthur Cecil Pigou, presenting him as a radical government interventionist. In later work Coase's critique of Pigou became even more strident. In fact, however, Pigou's Economics of Welfare created the basic model and many of the tools that Coase's later work employed. Much of what we today characterize as the "Coase Theorem," including the relevance of transaction costs, externalities, and bilateral monopoly, was either stated or anticipated in Pigou's work. Further, Coase's extreme faith in private ...


"Free" Religion And "Captive" Schools: Protestants, Catholics, And Education, 1945-1965, Sarah Barringer Gordon Jan 2007

"Free" Religion And "Captive" Schools: Protestants, Catholics, And Education, 1945-1965, Sarah Barringer Gordon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Berle And Means Reconsidered At The Century's Turn, William W. Bratton Apr 2001

Berle And Means Reconsidered At The Century's Turn, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Knowledge About Welfare: Legal Realism And The Separation Of Law And Economics, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2000

Knowledge About Welfare: Legal Realism And The Separation Of Law And Economics, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The welfare state could not function without judgments about how well off its citizens are. For example, governments devise progressive income taxes, which are designed to capture more wealth from the well off and less from the impecunious. These policies presume an ability to take a manageable amount of information about an individual's income or assets and make judgments about her welfare. In fact, people do this all the time, mostly without thinking about the methodological problems involved.

The superficial casualness of our daily observations about welfare belies the state of the economic science of welfare measurement. Economists have ...


The Limits Of Preference-Based Legal Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 1994

The Limits Of Preference-Based Legal Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

America's political institutions are built on the principle that individual preferences are central to the formation of policy. The two most important institutions in our system, democracy and the market, make individual preference decisive in the formation of policy and the allocation of resources. American legal traditions have always reflected the centrality of preference in policy determination. In private law, the importance of preference is reflected mainly in the development and persistence of common-law rules, which are intended to facilitate private transactions over legal entitlements. In constitutional law, the centrality of preference is reflected in the high position we ...


The First Great Law & Economics Movement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 1990

The First Great Law & Economics Movement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Beginning in the 1880s American economists turned their attention to the law in a way unprecedented in American thought. Some legal academics in turn incorporated economics into their thinking about the law. Whether their output or its impact were great enough to warrant calling their efforts a law and economics "movement" is worth debating. This essay argues that there was such a movement.

Four things account for the increasing interest in law and economics at the turn of the century: (1) the widespread application of evolutionary models to the development of both law and economic theory; (2) the influence of ...


The Antitrust Movement And The Rise Of Industrial Organization, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 1989

The Antitrust Movement And The Rise Of Industrial Organization, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The modern science of industrial organization grew out of a debate among lawyers and economists in the waning years of the nineteenth century. For Americans, the emergent business "trust" provoked a dialogue about how the law should respond. Many of the formal theories of industrial organization, such as the ruinous competition doctrine, the potential competition doctrine, and the post-classical concern about vertical integration, were actually borrowed from the law.

Anglo-American and European economists disputed the proper domain of theory and description in economic analysis. The British approach was exemplified Alfred and Mary Paley Marshall's Economics of Industry, published in ...


Foreign Investment: Foreign Economic Contract Law, Jacques Delisle Jan 1986

Foreign Investment: Foreign Economic Contract Law, Jacques Delisle

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.