Alfred Marshall Meets Law and Economics: Rationality, Norms, and Theories as Tendency Statements

Cognition and Economics

ISBN: 978-0-76231-378-5, eISBN: 978-1-84950-465-2

ISSN: 1529-2134

Publication date: 11 December 2006


The first issue that requires examination is the question of how we got to this point to begin with. The answer to this question, of course, is a function of who “we” happens to be. The lawyers can blame Oliver Wendell Holmes (1897, p. 469), who made “the man of the future … the man of statistics and the master of economics.” The future, it would seem, is now. Legal Realist/Institutionalist lawyer-economists such as Walton Hamilton and Robert Lee Hale, who were economists on law school faculties before that tradition got started at Chicago, had something to do with this too, although neither they nor law-minded economists such as John R. Commons can be given credit or blame for the economic analysis of law – at least not directly.3 The birth of the economic analysis of law is very much a Chicago story – Coase, Becker, and Posner – although we must allow that Guido Calabresi also had more than a bit to do with these things.4


Medema, S. (2006), "Alfred Marshall Meets Law and Economics: Rationality, Norms, and Theories as Tendency Statements", Krecké, E., Krecké, C. and Koppl, R. (Ed.) Cognition and Economics (Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 235-252.

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