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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Legal History

Law and Economics

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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

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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

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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 reaching …


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

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

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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 bargaining led him to fail …


The New Economics Of Jurisdictional Competition: Devolutionary Federalism In A Second-Best World, William W. Bratton, Joseph A. Mccahery Jan 1997

The New Economics Of Jurisdictional Competition: Devolutionary Federalism In A Second-Best World, William W. Bratton, Joseph A. Mccahery

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No abstract provided.


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

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

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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 …


Corporate Debt Relationships: Legal Theory In A Time Of Restructuring, William W. Bratton Jan 1989

Corporate Debt Relationships: Legal Theory In A Time Of Restructuring, William W. Bratton

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No abstract provided.