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This insightful research review provides analysis of the most important contemporary work by experts in the economic analysis of legal reasoning and interpretation. It explores a wide range of topics in the field, from constitutional to statutory interpretation, precedent and the interpretation of contracts. The articles discussed raise key questions concerning the optimal construction of institutions, the best approach to judicial decision-making, and the best strategies for statutory and contract drafting. This fascinating review will be valuable to academics interested in legal reasoning, economic analysis and legal philosophy.

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Research Reviews

Dedicated to the late Henry G. Manne, this authoritative research review surveys the development of law and economics both as a scholarly field and as an educational program. Starting as a niche area, centered primarily at the University of Chicago, law and economics has grown to be the dominant field in US legal scholarship. The influential articles discussed in this review trace that development from the mid-20th century through to today, focusing on both the personalities who laid the groundwork for the field’s success and the intellectual debates that fueled its growth. Written by two experts in the field, this review is a valuable research tool for academics and students interested in the history of law and economics.

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This research review examines some of the most important articles on the topic of law and economics. Although the wealth of scholarship and the steady expansion of the field make the task of selecting representative works a challenge, the growth rate underscores the relevance and importance of the economic approach to the theory and practice of law. In this essay, therefore, we offer a survey of this vast interdisciplinary movement, exploring its rapid assimilation of disparate legal subject matters. We cannot hope to cover every major result discovered over the course of several decades in the space available. However, we hope to convey at least a general sense of what law and economics is, how it can inform real-world adjudication, and how it developed over the decades.

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Scholarly analysis of corporate law in the United States has come to be dominated by an economic approach. Professor Hill and Professor McDonnell here discuss seminal articles which represent major milestones along the road that economics has traveled in coming to play this central role in corporate law scholarship. The focus is on the analysis of corporate law, drawing mainly upon legal scholarship and particularly on US scholarship, which is the originator of the application of modern economic analysis to corporate law and has had much influence in other countries.

Beginning with several of the key works on the economics of the firm which have most heavily influenced legal scholarship, the review explores the central legal role of the board of directors and state competition for corporate charters. It further considers the role of hostile takeovers and board defenses against them and the effectiveness of shareholder suits and other agency mechanisms.

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Exploring the most important articles from leading authors in the field, Professor Geoffrey Miller’s new research review, Economics of Securities Law, is an essential resource for students, policymakers and those interested in the history and current status of the subject.

The papers covered represent fundamental contributions that shaped later thinking, illustrate approaches that have proven durably influential or represent important challenges to conventional views. The review also analyses new approaches, such as behavioural economics, alongside ‘Chicago School’ papers, comparative analyses and influential works by people involved in the creation of laws governing modern securities markets.

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Covering the most important areas of the subject, such as financial crises, the nature of the banking firm and issues in bank regulation, this research review surveys a comprehensive collection of the papers that have shaped the field of financial law. Professor Geoffrey Miller provides a thorough and authoritative examination of the material.

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Ronen Avraham, David Hyman and Charles Silver, leading authorities in their fields, discuss the effects of economic and legal constraints and regulation on healthcare. They examine the impact of access to healthcare on mortality and clinical outcomes and investigate healthcare financing, including payment to providers, expanding costs, health insurance and the provision of long-term care. The distribution of spending and the expansion of provision are also investigated. The regulatory aspect includes discussions on the regulation of healthcare practice, medical malpractice and liability, and public health and ethical issues.

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Generations of law and economics scholars have been fascinated by history, seeing in its institutions and laws a vast database for illustrating their theories. Equally, historians have seen economic analysis as a helpful tool with which to analyse legal institutions. As a result a vibrant field has emerged in which people trained in law, economics, history and political science have all made significant contributions. This research review identifies the most important works examining legal history from an economic perspective.

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Research Reviews

Although the relationship between fairness and the economic concept of efficiency is usually cast as an adversarial one, this collection demonstrates the robust and diverse ways in which economics engages – and cannot avoid engaging – with fairness. This research review selects papers presenting positive analyses of fairness preferences and beliefs, which are fundamental means through which fairness matters for economic models and then turns to normative analysis and the broad question of how law should reconcile fairness and efficiency considerations. It presents a sampling of legal and policy applications in which both fairness and efficiency considerations prove important.

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There is a growing body of scholarship analysing the many international organizations, government agencies and civil society groups whose activities define the relationship between human rights and intellectual property. This timely and engaging research review illustrates the richness and diversity of this literature. It explores the wider historical and institutional context of these topics; the meaning of key international instruments; writings that clarify ambiguous legal norms; works that advocate the recognition of new legal norms; institutional and strategic issues and critical or cautionary perspectives.

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Research Reviews