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Economic Theories on Legal History - Dictionary of Arguments

Parisi I 163
Legal History/Economic theories/Wangenheim: Most of [the] literature has a clear normative agenda: to show whether or - more frequently - that property rights evolving without government's interference are at least as good as property rights designed by governments (or courts). (…) some writers in the field (notably North, 1990(1); but also Libecap and Lueck, 2011)(2) amend Demsetz's teleological hypothesis (>Legal history/Demsetz) by causal explanations, that is, individual interests in changing law, individual interests resulting in circumventing inefficient law, also for the evolution of legal rules within existing states.
Efficiency/Demsetz: In the original, Demsetzian sense of this theory, evolution is driven completely by efficiency. As a consequence, it is only the latter concept, namely efficiency, which may provide an explanation for differences in legal rules between countries. Thus if this theory is useful for making choices between alternative legal rules, then it is not their evolutionary part but the alleged efficiency goal of social evolution.
Parisi I 164
Neo-institutional theories: With their separation of positive and normative theory, the neo-institutional studies became able not only to offer an explanation for why institutions evolve towards efficiency, but also to describe conditions under which institutions evolve otherwise. (…) it provides a set of permissible and typical arguments explaining legal change and evolution: economic efficiency, economic advantageousness of norms to their adherents, opportunity costs, and transaction costs.
Causality: In contrast to the functionalist approach, causal explanations of why, how, and to where the law evolves have emerged in the literature during the last four decades. (…) [there are] models that envisage the evolution of law as driven by the litigating parties' and the judges' interests in efficient legal rules in a stable environment. (…) [there are]models in which the law co-evolves with social norms and models that deal with the feedback of law on technology which determines the interests in changing law. >Microeconomics on legal history, >Legal history/Priest.


1. North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Libecap, G. D. and D. Lueck and O’Grady (2011). "The Demarcation of Land and the Role of Coordinating Institutions." Journal of Political Economy 119: 426-467


Wangenheim, Georg von. „Evolutionary Law and Economics.” In: Parisi, Francesco (ed) (2017). The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics. Vol 1: Methodology and Concepts. NY: Oxford University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Economic Theories
Parisi I
Francesco Parisi (Ed)
The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics: Volume 1: Methodology and Concepts New York 2017


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