Research Handbook on Austrian Law and Economics
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Research Handbook on Austrian Law and Economics

Edited by Todd J. Zywicki and Peter J. Boettke

The original contributions to the Research Handbook provide an introduction to the application of Austrian economics to law. The book begins with chapters on the methodology of law and economics. Further chapters discuss key concepts in Austrian economics – dynamic competitive processes, spontaneous order, subjective value, entrepreneurship, and the limited nature of individual knowledge – as they relate to topics in evolutionary law (social rules, self-governance, dispute resolution) and basic law (torts, antitrust, civil procedure, business and family law).
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Chapter 3: Coase, Posner, and Austrian law and economics

Peter T. Leeson

Abstract

This chapter has two purposes. First, it considers what the components of an “Austrian” law and economics might consist of. I argue that Ronald Coase’s conception of law and economics precludes the economic analysis of legal institutions and, in particular, the beliefs that support them. In doing so, Coase’s conception precludes an Austrian law and economics. In contrast, Richard Posner’s conception of law and economics makes such analysis the core of its study. In doing so, Posner’s conception provides a productive foundation for an Austrian law and economics. Second, to illustrate what some aspects of an Austrian law and economics might look like in practice, I consider several examples of the economic analysis of beliefs of import for the law. I focus on objectively false beliefs, or superstitions, and argue that some such beliefs are socially productive.

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