Comparative Law and Economics
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Comparative Law and Economics

Edited by Theodore Eisenberg and Giovanni B. Ramello

Contemporary law and economics has greatly expanded its scope of inquiry as well as its sphere of influence. The extension to many idiosyncratic topics and issues that sometime lie outside the traditional domain of the discipline have fostered the emergence of a new consciousness better grasped by a comparative approach. The original contributions to this Research Handbook provide a glimpse of the new perspectives that enrich the law and economics methodology.
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Chapter 3: Law, social norms, and standards: Their nexus with government and their impact on the economic performance of nation states

Nicholas Mercuro


The future of a nation state – its legal, economic, and social structure and thus its performance – is of its own making. If someone were to take a purposeful look at the future and ask themselves or someone of their generation three simple questions – What do you want your nation to look like in the future? What fabric and character of economic life do you want for the next generation? What life chances do you want to provide for the future citizens of your nation? – they would find that meaningful alternatives are available. The purpose of this chapter is to set forth a comparative institutional approach – a conceptual model perhaps useful in comparative law – that can help make these meaningful alternatives known to society. The driving force behind such an approach is the need to come to grips with the interrelations among legal, social, and economic processes. This is consistent with the thrust of old and new institutional economics where the institutional structure cannot merely be assumed away or taken as given. Indeed, anyone interested in understanding the economic performance of a nation state will find it increasingly hard to take its laws, rights, rules, doctrines and regulations – its institutions – as fixed.

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