Economic Logic and Legal Logic

In Colin Aitken, Amalia Amaya, Kevin D. Ashley, Carla Bagnoli, Giorgio Bongiovanni, Bartosz Brożek, Cristiano Castelfranchi, Samuele Chilovi, Marcello Di Bello, Jaap Hage, Kenneth Einar Himma, Lewis A. Kornhauser, Emiliano Lorini, Fabrizio Macagno, Andrei Marmor, J. J. Moreso, Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco, Antonino Rotolo, Giovanni Sartor, Burkhard Schafer, Chiara Valentini, Bart Verheij, Douglas Walton & Wojciech Załuski (eds.), Handbook of Legal Reasoning and Argumentation. Springer Verlag. pp. 711-745 (2018)
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Abstract

This essay disentangles the complex relations between economic logic and legal logic. It distinguishes economic logic as a social process from economic logic as economic reasoning; economic reasoning to explain behavior from economic reasoning to evaluate behavioral outcomes; and legal reasoning in judicial contexts from legal reasoning in other contexts such as legislation and legal enforcement or compliance. It then argues first that economic logic as the logic of social processes deepens our understanding of how law develops and how it influences behavior. But the essay argues second that economic logic plays at best a limited role in the logic of legal reasoning for two reasons. Much legal reasoning seeks to identify the goals we should and do pursue while economic logic takes such goals as given. Further, the instrumental role of economic logic will vary with the institutional context in which legal reasoning occurs.

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