Sidgwick's Utilitarian Analysis of Law: A Bridge from Bentham to Becker?

Posted: 22 Jun 2007

See all articles by Steven G. Medema

Steven G. Medema

Duke University - Department of Economics

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Abstract

Jeremy Bentham's utilitarian analysis of crime and punishment is regularly characterized as an inspiration for the economic analysis of law, whereas Henry Sidgwick has been all but ignored in the discussions of the history of law and economics. Sidgwick is well known as the godfather of Cambridge welfare economics. Yet, as we will show, his utilitarian analysis of issues in property, contract, tort, and, criminal law reflect themes now associated with the Chicago approach and advance on Bentham in multiple ways - including through the use of marginal analysis - making him a bridge on the road between Bentham and Becker.

Keywords: Bentham, Sidgwick, utilitarianism

JEL Classification: B13, K00, K42

Suggested Citation

Medema, Steven G., Sidgwick's Utilitarian Analysis of Law: A Bridge from Bentham to Becker?. American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2007 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=994711 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.560842

Steven G. Medema (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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