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Law and Economics (5th Edition) Paperback – August 17, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0321336347 ISBN-10: 0321336348 Edition: 5th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 5 edition (August 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321336348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321336347
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Cooter, a pioneer in the field of law and economics, began teaching in the Department of Economics at UC Berkeley in 1975 and joined the Boalt faculty in 1980. He has been a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and a recipient of various awards and fellowships, including Guggenheim, the Jack N. Pritzker Visiting Research Professorship at Northwestern Law School, and, most recently, the Max Planck Research Prize. He was an Olin visiting professor at the University of Virginia Law School and lectured at the University of Cologne in 1989. He is coeditor of the International Review of Law and Economics. He is one of the founders of the American Law and Economics Association and served from 1994 to 1995 as its president. In 1999 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 


Professor Ulen received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, a master’s from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University. He holds a Swanlund Chair, one of the highest endowed titles on the Urbana-Champaign campus, and is Director of the College’s Program in Law and Economics. In addition, he is a research affiliate of the Environmental Council, a member of the Campus Honors faculty, and holds positions in the Department of Economics and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs. Recently, Professor Ulen served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Bielefeld, and as the Foreign Chair in International and Comparative Law at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He has previously been a Visiting Professor in Belgium, Germany, Slovenia, and a Ford Foundation Professor in Shanghai, China. Professor Ulen was a member of the founding Board of Directors of the American Law and Economics Association and has served as a member of the editorial board of several professional journals. He is also a co-organizer, with Professor Tom Ginsburg and Professor Richard McAdams, of the Midwest Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting at the College of Law.

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Customer Reviews

In this, it succeeds quite well.
John K. Palchak
The best part about this book is that is not overly complex or attempting to over simplify.
KC Reviews
If you're introducing yourself to the field, this book is a good investment.
John S. Ryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on August 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a nice textbook. If you're looking for a good introduction to the field of law and economics intermediate between Mercuro/Medema's _Economics and the Law_ (low brainstrain) and Thomas Miceli's _Economics of the Law_ (high brainstrain), this one is a good choice.

One of the things I especially like about Cooter and Ulen's approach is that they are careful _not_ to reduce law to economics (or vice versa, for that matter). Their claim is simply that law and economics have a lot to learn from one another. And this claim is hard to argue with, no matter what other criticisms I might make about some parts of the law-and-economics movement.

For example, people who work with the law may tend to think of law as a means (solely) of securing justice, unaware that law also provides a complex structure of what economists would call "incentives" which promote what economists would call "efficiency". On the other hand, economists may tend to take for granted the existence of such institutions as property rights and contracts, and the meaning of such terms as "voluntary." These things are not as simple as they appear (as any first-year law student could tell you, although lots of "pop libertarians" probably couldn't), and legal scholarship has developed a lot of machinery for dealing with them.

So this textbook, after a short opening chapter, devotes two not-overlong and altogether mainstream summary-and-overview chapters to, respectively, microeconomic theory and law. This means that a reader from either discipline can learn the basics of the other before proceeding to the meat of the analysis.

Then the real work starts.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Bainbridge on January 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
There are a number of good introductory works to law and economics. Richard Posner's Economic Analysis of the Law, for example, is a widely used and heavily-cited text. Yet, Cooter and Ulen have produced a text that deserves a top ranking in this growing field.
Law and economics is a school of jurisprudence in which the tools of microeconomic analysis are used to study law. Those lawyers, judges, and legal scholars who practice economic analysis have a deceptively simple task. They translate some legal doctrine into economic terms. They then apply a few basic tools of neoclassical microeconomics, such as cost-benefit analysis, collective action theory, decisionmaking under uncertainty, and risk aversion, to the problem. Finally, they translate the result back into legal terms.
Law and economics radically transformed legal thinking. Traditional forms of legal scholarship were mostly backward-looking. One reasoned from old precedents to decide a present case, seemingly without much concern (at least explicitly) for the effect today's decision would have on future behavior. Yet, law is necessarily forward-looking. To be sure, a major function of our legal system is to resolve present disputes, but law's principal function is to regulate future behavior. The law and economics movement succeeded because it recognized that judges cannot administer justice solely retrospectively. They must also consider what rules their decisions will create to guide the behavior of other actors in the future. The genius of law and economics was giving judges a systematic mechanism for predicting how rules will affect behavior. Cooter and Ulen demonstrate this by applying basic economic principles across a wide array of both common law and statutory areas.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Sura on July 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In a sense, this book is quite curious. Because law and economics is a discipline in its infancy, a book of this nature has to tread the fine line between serving as a distanced text and engaging in the dialogue of current research. And in both respects, Cooter and Ulen do a magnificent job of doing just that.
Law and economics is a branch of jurisprudence that aims to frame legal questions in terms of economic efficiency. While some maintain that legal questions can purely be reduced to economic ones, Cooter and Ulen take - rightly, in my view - the more conservative stance that economics can describe at least part of the legal question. It turns out, however, that the methodologies presented in this book are useful in reducing most legal problems to ones of economic efficiency.
This is a textbook for beginners. It presupposes virtually no knowledge on economics or law -- a brief synopsis of microeconomics and English common law system is presented at the outset. The rest of the book utilizes economic methodologies in analyzing legal problems of property, contract, torts, common law and criminal law.
However, there is a caveat. As law and economics is a burgeoning and diverse field, many important details are omitted. Most notably, the distinction between different schools of law and economics is saliently missing. This book adopts the "Posnerian" or "Chicago" school of law and economics; that is, analyzing legal questions using the framework of wealth maximization. This scaffold is one of many schools of law and economics, including the "Virginia School" and the "Rochester School."
Taking this into note, however, does not mitigate this book's clarity or exposition. This is a solid although incomplete introduction to law and economics. Recommended.
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