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Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law


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Table of Contents

Preface 1. Introduction Part I. Property Law 2. Definition, Justification, and Emergence of Property Rights 3. Division of Property Rights 4. Acquisition and Transfer of Property 5. Conflict and Cooperation in the Use of Property: The Problem of Externalities 6. Public Property 7. Property Rights in Information Part II. Accident Law 8. Liability and Deterrence: Basic Theory 9. Liability and Deterrence: Firms 10. Extensions of the Analysis of Deterrence 11. Liability, Risk-Bearing, and Insurance 12. Liability and Administrative Costs Part III. Contract Law 13. Overview of Contracts 14. Contract Formation 15. Production Contracts 16. Other Types of Contract Part IV. Litigation and the Legal Process 17. Basic Theory of Litigation 18. Extensions of the Basic Theory 19. General Topics on the Legal Process Part V. Public Law Enforcement and Criminal Law 20. Deterrence with Monetary Sanctions 21. Deterrence with Nonmonetary Sanctions 22. Extensions of the Theory of Deterrence 23. Incapacitation, Rehabilitation, and Retribution 24. Criminal Law Part VI. General Structure of the Law 25. The General Structure of the Law and Its Optimality Part VII. Welfare Economics, Morality, and the Law 26. Welfare Economics and Morality 27. Implications for the Analysis of Law 28. Income Distributional Equity and the Law 29. Concluding Observations References Author Index Subject Index

Promotional Information

For the past 30 years, Steven Shavell has been one of the prolific and influential contributors to the economic analysis of law, the foremost intellectual movement in law in the last half century. His new book is a lucid, accessible, authoritative, critical, and comprehensive treatise on the economics of the fundamental doctrines and institutions of the law. It is at once a major contribution to scholarship, a useful reference tool, and a valuable introduction to an approach to law that no serious student of the law can any longer afford to neglect. -- Richard A. Posner, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Shavell's book provides a masterful, non-technical synthesis of the classical topics of law and economics. It is comprehensive, clear and readable. The book will be a great source both for neophytes who want to learn about this important area, and for experts who want to make sure that they are up-to-date on the latest developments. -- Oliver Hart, Department of Economics, Harvard University Law and Economics is one of the great intellectual triumphs of social science. Shavell's book offers a compelling account of the accomplishments and challenges of the field at the beginning of the 21st century. -- Andrei Shleifer, Department of Economics, Harvard University Since the 1970s, Steven Shavell has written one path-breaking article after another. Not only has he collected the insights from this large body of work under one roof here, he has added to it both by integrating it into a coherent whole, and by filling in numerous gaps in the literature. For someone interested in getting to the cutting edge of law-and-economics scholarship as quickly as possible, this book is a "must read." It clearly will become the authoritative treatise on the economic analysis of law. -- A. Mitchell Polinsky, Stanford Law School

About the Author

Steven Shavell is Samuel R. Rosenthal Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.


This book proposes an overview of the fields in the economics of law to which the author has contributed. It also covers in detail other fields and many contributions to the literature. The emphasis is on theory, but some empirical facts are mentioned...I very much enjoyed reading the book. It covers with great competence the relevant topics of positive and normative analyses of law. The book reflects the strong academic competence of the author. I recommend the book to academics and professionals. I also recommend its use for teaching the economics of law in law schools, economics departments, and business schools. -- Dionne Georges Journal of Risk and Insurance 20061201

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