Law can be viewed as a body of rules and legal sanctions that channel behavior in socially desirable directions – for example, by encouraging individuals to take proper precautions to prevent accidents or by discouraging competitors from colluding to raise prices. The incentives created by the legal system are thus a natural subject of study by economists. Moreover, given the importance of law to the welfare of societies, the economic analysis of law merits prominent treatment as a subdiscipline of economics. This two-volume handbook explores these issues and aims to foster the study of the legal system by economists.
Edited by Professor A. Mitchell Polinsky and Harvard’s Steven Shavell, the book’s contributors include Richard Craswell, Dan Kessler, Roger Noll, Al Sykes, and Barry Weingast.