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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Legal History

1994

Welfare economics

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

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

All Faculty Scholarship

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 assign …