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Peter J. Boettke and Todd J. Zywicki

The Austrian contribution to the development of law and economics is the study of endogenous rule formation, or the spontaneous evolution of social institutions, which can be traced to the founder of the Austrian School, Carl Menger. While Menger’s emphasis on spontaneous institutional analysis was born out of the Methodenstreit, a methodological battle engaged against the German Historical School, this chapter argues that the Austrian contribution to law and economics emerged directly from the socialist calculation debate against market socialism. This debate, we will argue, played an essential role in the re-discovery of the institutional framework in economics during the post-WWII era, particularly in the development of law and economics. In the aftermath of the socialist calculation debate, Menger’s earlier emphasis on institutional analysis was reemphasized by F.A. Hayek, who in turn influenced the early pioneers of law and economics, particularly Aaron Director, Ronald Coase, and Bruno Leoni.

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Alina Averchenkova, Sam Fankhauser and Michal Nachmany

Chapter 1 offers an overview of the book and summarizes the state and trends in climate change legislation. Making use of a unique global database, Climate Change Laws of the World, the chapter identifies over 1,200 climate change laws and policies of similar stature in the 164 countries the data covers. This stock of laws is the result of over 20 years of policy making and speaks to the growing attention that legislators are devoting to climate change. In 1997, at the time the Kyoto Protocol was signed, there were only about 60 relevant laws and policies. Countries use different routes to address climate change. In some countries the primary avenue is acts of parliament, that is, formal laws passed by the legislative branch. In others, the policy direction is defined through executive orders, decrees and strategies. Climate change laws also differ in scope and ambition. Some laws are specifically focused on climate change, advancing explicitly emissions reduction or adaptation targets. Others introduce climate concerns into sector policies, such as those on energy, or broader development plans. Understanding these different approaches becomes increasingly important as countries implement their pledges under the Paris Agreement.

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Contextualising the issue

The Subsidisation of Heavy Polluters under Emissions Trading Schemes

Elena de Lemos Pinto Aydos

Chapter 1 introduces the book and the book chapters. It discusses the exponential increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the past decades and outlines the most recent global emissions trends. The chapter then introduces the Paris Agreement and the key domestic climate change policies that are being adopted by countries in order to meet their intended nationally determined contribution (INDCs). Carbon pricing has been increasingly adopted by countries aiming to mitigate GHG emissions. However, even now, many heavy polluters participating in emissions trading schemes (ETSs) are not paying the full price of carbon. Keywords: climate change – greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – Paris Agreement – intended nationally determined contribution (INDCs) – carbon taxes – emissions trading schemes (ETSs)

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Anthony F. Lang, Jr. and Antje Wiener

This chapter provides an introduction and framework to the volume. It provides a historical overview of constitutional thought and highlights the four principles of constitutionalism: rule of law, separation of powers, constituent power, and rights. It demonstrates the ways in which this history and these principles are relevant for global constitutionalism. It argues that a practice-based approach to global constitutionalism provides space for contestation of the traditional liberal history and principles of constitutional thought, highlighting new ways in which this idea can be understood and assessed.

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A Law and Economics Perspective

Wenming Xu, Stefan E. Weishaar and Niels Philipsen

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Frank Fagan

A legal cycle is legislation that takes effect contingently, where contingent factors are ex ante known to fluctuate with some level of predictable regularity. Apart from broad constitutional mandate, lawmakers have historically and suboptimally responded to legal cycles with general and patchwork patterns of legislation involving repeal, amendment, and new enactment. This is true across nearly all domains of codified law. This chapter develops a normative theory of how lawmakers should respond to legal cycles by setting forth the optimal architecture of stabilization rules. Under a general set of conditions, stabilization rules work toward smoothing fluctuations in rulemaking and exert downward pressure on short-term legislative pathologies that result from cognitive bias and interest group politics. The potential of welfare-enhancing stabilization rules is discussed across banking law, budget law, environmental law, health law, national security law, and criminal sentencing. Keywords: timing rules, contingent law, legal cycles, stabilization rules, climate change, budget law, availability bias

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Eric A. Posner

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Jonathan Klick

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Brian Galle

I present for the first time in the literature a quantitative analysis of the efficacy of the “political safeguards of federalism.” I also test the popular theory that congressional control of state authority to tax maximizes national welfare. Both analyses rely on a hand-collected data set of every federal statute from 1789 to 2011 affecting state power to tax. Overall, the data suggest that federal decisions to curtail state autonomy are influenced by congressional self-interest. Conditional on enactment, statutes affecting state taxing power are more likely to reduce state authority when a concentrated special interest group stands to benefit and also when the reduction would diminish competition between states and Congress. I argue that these results suggest that state power to influence Congress is not absolute, and that they should cast doubt on recent calls to grant control of state taxing authority solely to Congress.
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Stefan E. Weishaar