Table of Contents

The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics, Second Edition

The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics, Second Edition

Elgar original reference

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus

This thoroughly updated and revised edition of a popular and authoritative reference work introduces the reader to the major concepts and leading contributors in the field of law and economics. The Companion features accessible, informative and provocative entries on all the significant issues, and breaks new ground by bringing together widely dispersed yet theoretically congruent ideas.

Chapter 39: Augusto Graziani (1865–1938)

Giampaolo Frezza and Francesco Parisi

Subjects: economics and finance, law and economics, law - academic, law and economics


Giampaolo Frezza and Francesco Parisi Introduction The work of the Italian scholar Augusto Graziani anticipates in many respects some insights of modern law and economics and institutional theory. His arguments focus with great clarity on the link between economics and legal studies. In his view, such a link is twofold. To identify and exemplify laws independent of their natural development and of any formal qualification of them – a particular need in the fundamental works under study here – Graziani illustrates the generic relationship between economic reasoning and legal choices (especially on the part of the lawmaker). Sometimes, in fact, the very existence of certain legal institutions is ontologically dictated by economic requirements: one example that can be cited even without deeper analysis is the institution of the state, which represents the modern constitutional entity and owes its origin to economics. The state was born of the need to draft public budgets in order to accomplish public goals. On the other hand, and more specifically, the author analyses some legal developments in terms of efficiency, and according to the strict criteria of the microeconomic method, especially in the areas of inheritance and contract. Interestingly, Graziani introduced the modern concept of ‘efficient breach’ of contract. The economic foundation of law We start our analysis of Graziani’s work by considering his perspective on the ‘economic foundation of law’. ‘The economic foundation of law’, a lecture to inaugurate the 1893–94 academic year at the University of Siena, was published in...

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