Document Type

Response or Comment


Progressive Law and Economics - And the New Administrative Law, 98 Yale L. J. 341 (1988)


Economics: the dismal science. But surely this insults the messenger who brings the bad news. Economic method is not dismal, unless the mere sight of mathematics and statistics makes you depressed. Economics tries to reveal the costs in time, money, and energy of all of life's enterprises; it refuses to permit dreamers to ignore scarcity. But if resources really are scarce, are we better off ignoring the truth?

This question is of greater importance for progressives than conservatives. While conservatives can oppose government regulatory and spending programs "on principle," a credible progressive movement must weigh the costs as well as the benefits of reform. It is, then, odd and unfortunate that law and economics is often associated with a set of conservative and, to many, morally dismal ideologies that have no intrinsic connection to the economic analysis of legal problems. This Comment urges the development of a reformist law and economics, closely linked to administrative law and based on public finance theory, public policy analysis, and social choice theory.

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