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 8: Administrative law and economics

Jean-Michel Josselin and Alain Marciano


Jean-Michel Josselin and Alain Marciano The domain of administrative law and economics The use of economics to understand administrative law may not be as widespread as what can be seen in other parts of the legal doctrines and practices. Public behaviours are nonetheless unambiguously susceptible to economic investigation. The objective here is to provide some general guidance as to how political economy can be used to the purpose of understanding the legal dimension of the state. In this respect, the domain of administrative law and economics consists of two related approaches. The first one deals with both efficiency and control of administration, in a given constitutional framework. Two levels of objectives can be set therein. On the one hand, coherence of administrative behaviours and actions must be assured with regard to the goals of the state and the protection of private rights. The prominent features are rent seeking and corruption. On the other hand, there is the necessity of an internal control, at the level of administrative agencies themselves. Bureaucratic behaviours must be contained by proper incentive mechanisms. This public choice perspective amounts to the following question: how to judge the actions of the state? The second approach considers the general constitutional framework as a variable. The way in which the state is judged indicates what its nature is meant or supposed to be. The specificity of administrative law can then be asserted only if the state deserves or demonstrates some specificity in its turn. This is a constitutional political...

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