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1999

Southern California Law Review

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Precedential Cascades: An Appraisal, Eric Talley Jan 1999

Precedential Cascades: An Appraisal, Eric Talley

Faculty Scholarship

About a half century ago, a handful of social scientists began to formalize what was to become the analytical heart of neoclassical economics. Under the broad rubric of "general equilibrium theory," these scholars demonstrated (in varying degrees of mathematical sophistication) the longstanding intuition behind the so-called "invisible hand": that is, that competitive markets could convert apparent disarray and fragmentation into order and harmony. More explicitly, general equilibrium theory demonstrated how a decentralized collection of self-interested individuals could, through competitive market transactions, allocate scarce goods and services in a socially efficient manner. An equally powerful corollary attended this central insight: that ...