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Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus
Chapter 4: Positive, Normative and Functional Schools in Law and Economics
Francesco Parisi Various important methodological questions have accompanied the growth and evolution of law and economics. Economists and jurists alike have debated the appropriate role of economic analysis in the institutional design of lawmaking and the limits of methods of evaluation of social preferences and aggregate welfare in policy analysis. In many respects, these methodological debates have contributed to the growing intellectual interest and to the diversiﬁcation of methodologies in the economic analysis of law. The origins and the evolved domain of law and economics Law and economics is probably the most successful example of the recent surge of applied economics into areas that were once regarded as beyond the realm of economic analysis and its study of explicit market transactions. Methodologically, law and economics applies the conceptual apparatus and empirical methods of economics to the study of law. The origins of modern law and economics Extensive research has been carried out to identify the historical and antecedents to modern law and economics. Indeed, this volume contains several biographical entries devoted to precursors and early European exponents of the law and economics movement. It is interesting to see that, although the recognition of law and economics as an independent ﬁeld of research is the result of studies carried out in the United States after the 1970s, most of the precursors can be found in Europe. Notable antecedents to law and economics include the work of Adam Smith on the economic effects of legislation (1776), and Jeremy Bentham’s theory of...
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