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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

1990

Economics

Legal History

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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 ...