Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Concepts in Law and EconomicsA Guide for the Curious$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jim Leitzel

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190213978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190213978.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 April 2020

Humanity’s Crooked Timber

Humanity’s Crooked Timber

(p.126) 6 Humanity’s Crooked Timber
Concepts in Law and Economics

Jim Leitzel

Oxford University Press

People cannot be counted upon to make all of their decisions in a fully rational manner—and sometimes the law should take the possibility of such lapses into account. For instance, contracts that appear to be wildly unfair need not be enforced by a court, under the doctrine of “unconscionability.” The Coase Theorem itself, one of the mainstays of Law and Economics analysis, presents a less optimistic picture in the face of “endowment effects,” where mere ownership of an asset raises the owner’s valuation of the asset. (Ironically, excessive optimism is a common departure from full rationality.) We might need to rethink the proper location of the Parthenon Marbles, the best way to compensate kidney donors, and desirable paths to re-legalizing currently illegal drugs, when rationality shortfalls are rife. Happiness and efficiency are not equivalent, so there will be situations when efficient laws do not promote hedonic well-being.

Keywords:   unconscionability, endowment effect, Coase Theorem, Parthenon Marbles, drugs, kidneys, happiness

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .