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Economic Foundations of Private Law

This reader brings together some seminal papers on law and economics, with special emphasis on the foundational contributions to the economics of property, contracts and torts. The growing influence of these writings in the judicial profession, and in the academic world, underscores the relevance and importance of these early contributions and the growing maturity of the law and economics movement. These papers have provided the foundations for the development of an overarching economic theory of law and, most importantly,have opened new areas of research for present and future generations of jurists and economists alike. The articles are arranged by theme, with topics including the methodological foundations of law and economics, the efficiency of the common law hypothesis,the economics of property law and the Coase theorem, the economics of contracts and the economics of tort law.
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Table of Contents

The economic foundations of private law - an introduction, Richard A. Posner and Francesco Parisi. Part 1 The methodology of law and economics: the law and economics movement, Richard A. Posner; about law and economics - a letter to Ronald Dworkin, Guido Calbresi; why the legal system is less efficient than the income tax in "redistributing income", Louis Kaplow and Steven Shavell; wealth maximization revisited, Richard A. Posner. Part 2 The efficiency of the common law hypothesis: an economic analysis of the courts, William M. Landes; an economics analysis of legal rulemaking, Isaac Ehrlich and Richard A. Posner; why is the common law efficient?, Paul H. Rubin; the common law process and the selection of efficient rules, George L. Priest; economic analysis of legal disputes and their resolution, Robert D. Cooter and Daniel L. Rubinfeld. Part 3 The Coase theorem and the economics of property rights: the problem of social cost, R.H. Coase; toward a theory of property rights, Harold Demsetz; property rules, liability rules and inalienability - one view of the cathedral, Guido Calabresi and A. Douglas Melamed. Part 4 The economics of contract law: the economic basis of damages for breach of contract, John H. Barton; mistake, disclosure, information and the law of contracts, Anthony T. Kronman; the case for specific performance, Alan Schwartz; enforcing promises - an examination of the basis of contract, Charles J. Goetz and Robert E. Scott; damage measures for breach of contract, Steven Shavell; damage measures for breach of contract, Steven Shavell; filling gaps in incomplete contracts - an economic theory of default rules, Ian Ayres and Robert Gertner. Part 5 The economics of tort law and liability systems: the positive economic theory of tort law, William M. Landes and Richard A. Posner; strict liabilty versus negligence, Steven Shavell; liability for harm versus regulation of safety, Steven Shavell; economic analysis of punitive damages, Robert D. Cooter.

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