Economic approaches to legal reasoning: An overview

Peter Cserne* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Economic analysis has contributed to a better understanding and a better functioning of law at different levels of generality. As far as legal reasoning is concerned, these contributions fall into two large groups. Economics in legal reasoning concerns arguments about the purposes and consequences of legal rules and principles that are acceptable in court as legally relevant, including (1) predictions of the likely consequences of alternative legal decisions; (2) technical normative arguments about the best means to achieve a legally determined purpose; and (3) welfarist normative arguments about the desirable goals of specific laws. Economics of legal reasoning, in turn, includes (1) explanatory models of legal processes in terms of rational activity of individuals, corporate entities as well as legal officials, and (2) normative proposals concerning the design of legal processes, that is the structure of law as institutional practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEconomics in Legal Reasoning
EditorsPéter Cserne, Fabrizio Esposito
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-40168-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-40167-2, 978-3-030-40170-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Institutions, Economics and Law
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
ISSN (Print)2662-6535
ISSN (Electronic)2662-6543


  • Economics in legal reasoning
  • Economics of legal reasoning
  • Wealth maximizatio
  • Consequence-based arguments
  • Teleological reasoning
  • Economics of legal process


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