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William Landes and Richard Posner are two of the most prominent advocates of the theory that the common law promotes efficiency. In an effort to demonstrate their claim mathematically, they have collected their many articles on tort law together in a new book, The Economic Structure of Tort Law. As the authors note, this is "the first book-length study that attempts to apply [the efficiency hypothesis] to a single field of law, as well as the first book-length study of the economics of tort law" (p. vii). In fact, the book's conclusions do not diverge greatly from Judge Posner's treatment of tort law in his Economic Analysis of Law.' The difference consists mainly in the greater depth of coverage and the greater use of mathematical models to prove the efficiency of various doctrines of law. The mathematically inexperienced will not find the book easy going, and it is to the authors' credit that they always attempt to repeat in descriptive terms what they try to demonstrate mathematically. Nevertheless, anyone interested in law and economics can learn a great deal from this book, especially those persons who disagree with its conclusions. That is perhaps the highest compliment one can pay any theoretical work.
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