The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics
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The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus

This authoritative and comprehensive 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 areas and breaks new ground by bringing together widely dispersed but theoretically congruent ideas for the first time.
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Chapter 28: Augusto Graziani (1865-1944)

Giampaolo Frezza and Francesco Parisi


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. With extremely clear argument, it focuses on the link between economics and legal studies. In the view of Graziani, 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 economic reasons. 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 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’. His ‘The Economic Foundation of Law’, a lecture inaugurating the 1893-4 academic year at the University of Siena, was published in the...

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