Austrian Law and Economics and Efficiency in the Common Law


Is the common law efficient? Neoclassical economists debate whether our inherited systems of judge-made law maximize wealth whereas Austrian economists typically adopt much different standards. The article reviews neoclassical and Austrian arguments about efficiency in the common law. After presenting Hayek’s views on the common law as a spontaneous order it concludes that the common law can indeed be viewed as a spontaneous order only when judges provide their services in a free and competitive system.