Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2021

Abstract

Dagan and Kreitner have offered a rich and elegantly written discussion of the normative uses of economic analysis of law. For Dagan and Kreitner, a scholar uses economic analysis normatively either when she evaluates a legal rule or institution or when she makes policy recommendations. These two normative uses of economic analysis are closely related but distinct. Evaluation often starts from some ideal theory while policy design is clearly non-ideal. Moreover, in policy design, questions of institutional competence and capacity play a central role that they do not have in straightforward evaluation. I do not, however, pursue these distinctions here.Evaluative approaches divide into two classes: consequentialist and non-consequentialist. Dagan and Kreitner discuss the role of economic analysis in both classes. The role of economic analysis in consequentialist evaluation and design flows naturally from economic methodology. Any consequentialist evaluation or policy design requires a theory of how individuals, both private citizens and public officials, behave in response to legal rules. Economic analysis of law offers the most clearly elaborated and developed theory of such behavior. In addition, the structure of the theory provides a natural way to make welfarist evaluations as the theory explains behavior in terms of the preferences of the agents.

Share

COinS