The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition
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The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

Social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key roles social values play in the economy and economic life. This second edition of the Elgar Companion to Social Economics revises all chapters from the first edition, and adds important new chapters to reflect the expansion and development of social economics. The expert contributions explain a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics in the field, mapping out possible directions of future social economic research. Social economics treats the economy and economics as embedded in a web of social and ethical relationships. It considers economics and ethics as essentially connected, and adds values such as justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom, and equality to the standard emphasis on efficiency. This book will be a leading resource and guide to social economics for many years to come.
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Chapter 35: Law and social economics: a Coasean perspective

David Campbell and Matthias Klaes


Iudex non calculat: before the 1960s, legal doctrine, in the common law tradition at least, had developed largely innocent of insights from economics. But during the subsequent half-century, the use of such insights to elucidate legal doctrine has become so widespread, albeit far more so in the USA than in other jurisdictions (Landes and Posner, 1993; Ogus, 1995; Symposium, 1991), that ‘law and economics’ is now one of the principal forms of jurisprudence, as is evidenced by the large number of existing introductions to the subject (Bowles, 1982; Cooter and Ulen, 2004; Hirsch, 1988; Malloy, 1990b; Mercuro and Medema, 1997; Mercuro and Ryan, 1984; Polinsky, 1989; Posner, 2007; Shavell, 2004; Veljanovski, 1982, 2006). Much of the intellectual substance of modern law and economics derives from the application of microeconomic principles to legal reasoning, informed by what the main currents of economic analysis have argued since the time of Ricardo: compared to alternative institutional arrangements, properly functioning markets yield superior allocative outcomes in terms of aggregate wealth. Law and economics largely accepts the depiction of markets in neoclassical welfare economics, and uses perfect markets as the basic yardstick with which to compare alternative forms of allocating goods.

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