Hayek, Friedrich August von

April, 2019

F.A. Hayek focused on many traditional economic questions, and also made important contributions to law and economics. His framework differed from Kaldor Hicks efficiency and the wealth maximization norm common among neoclassical law and economics scholars. But he talked about how the common law evolves and helps shape economic outcomes. Underlying this approach was Hayek’s conviction that the essence of law is not created by the state, but rather preexists in the conventions and understandings within a community. Hayek argued that the role of the judge in a common-law system is to discover the law in the imminent consensus of norms and expectations. Hayek’s work has many implications for positive analysis and normative discussions of what judges should or should not do. To Hayek, the primary purpose of the law is not a wealth maximization problem, but to provide a stable institutional framework in a dynamic world that enables individuals to plan and coordinate.


"Friedrich A. Hayek"

May, 2019

Law and Economics deals with the economic analysis of legal relations, legal provisions, laws and regulations and is a research field which has a long tradition in economics. It was lost after the expulsion of some of the leading economists from Germany during 1933 to 1938, but then revived in Chicago.  Both the subject of Law of Economics and the need for a concise Encyclopedia is particularly relevant in Europe today.  Currently in the European Union there are several different legal cultures: the Anglo-Saxon legal framework, the German legal framework, which for example also includes Greece, and the Roman legal family—three jurisdictions which have to be covered with one and the same theory. In the EU, the task of the European Commission to interact with the various European jurisdictions means different legal cultures collaborating and some degree of harmonization is necessary. The result is an immediate need, if only for the science, to show how a given problem is solved in each legal tradition and jurisdiction. This Encyclopedia provides both a common language and precise definitions in the field, which will be useful in the future to avoid misunderstandings during harmonization of EU Law.

Private Governance Book Panel

Are all of the rules and regulations governing economic activity a product of central planning or legislation? To what extent does privately produced and enforced governance play a role? On this throwback episode of the Hayek Program Podcast, Edward Stringham argues in a panel discussion of his book Private Governance that much of what is orderly in the economy can actually be attributed to governing mechanisms devised and enforced by private groups and individuals. Hayek Program director Peter Boettke moderates the discussion as Edward Stringham is joined on the panel by Jason Brennan and Bruce Benson.

Peter J. Boettke
Calendar Date: 
Feb 27, 2019
Podcast Series: 
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Publish to The Bridge?: 

Anarchy, State and Public Choice

June, 2018

Although most people believe that some form of government is necessary, the necessity of government was an assumption in political economy that had never been analyzed from an economic point of view. This changed in the 1970s when economists at the Center for the Study of Public Choice engaged in a systematic exploration of the issue. Anarchy, State and Public Choice, the first book-length treatment on the public choice theory of government, continues and extends the research program begun more than three decades ago. It reprints the main articles from the 1972 volume Explorations in the Theory of Anarchy, and it contains a response to each chapter by a new generation of economists, as well as new comments by Gordon Tullock, James Buchanan, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, and Peter J. Boettke. The new generation is notably less pessimistic about markets and more pessimistic about government than previous generations. Much of the new analysis suggests that private property rights and contracts can exist without government.

Might anarchy be the best choice after all? This provocative volume explores this question in depth and provides some interesting answers. Economists, political scientists, philosophers and lawyers interested in public choice, political economy, and spontaneous order will find this series of essays illuminating.


Table of Contents:

Edward Stringham, Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation, Trinity College; President, American Institute for Economic Research

Individual Welfare in Anarchy
Winston Bush, formerly Professor of Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Jungle or Just Bush? Anarchy and the Evolution of Cooperation
Jason Osborne, Chief Operating Officer, Credit Adjustments, Inc.

The Edge of the Jungle
Gordon Tullock, formerly Professor Emeritus of Law and Economics, George Mason University

Social Interaction Without the State
Christopher J. Coyne, Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Towards a Theory of the Evolution of Government
J. Patrick Gunning, formerly Professor of Economics, Feng Chia University

Do Contracts Require Formal Enforcement
Peter T. Leeson, Duncan Black Professor of Economics and Law, George Mason University; Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Before Public Choice
James M. Buchanan, formerly Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, George Mason University; formerly General Director, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University

Public Choice and Leviathan
Benjamin Powell, Professor of Economics, Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University; Director, Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University

Cases in Anarchy
Thomas Hogarty, formerly Professor of Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Defining Anarchy as Rock 'N' Roll: Rethinking Hogarty's Three Cases
Virgil Henry Storr, Don C. Lavoie Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Private Property Anarchism: An American Variant
Laurence Moss, formerly Professor of Economics and Law, Babson College

Anarchism and the Theory of Power
Warren Samuels, formerly Professor of Economics, Michigan State University

Polycentrism and Power: A Reply to Warren Samuels
Scott Beaulier, Dean, College of Business, North Dakota State University

Reflections After Three Decades
James M. Buchanan, formerly Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, George Mason University; formerly General Director, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University

Gordon Tullock, formerly Professor Emeritus of Law and Economics, George Mason University

Tullock on Anarchy
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Professor of Economics, San Jose State University

Anarchism as a Progressive Research Program in Political Economy
Peter J. Boettke, Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics



“Serious academic work on anarchism is relatively sparse. Anarchy, State and Public Choice is a sign of life. A new generation of academic researchers is once again attacking questions of anarchism.”
—Michael S. Rozeff, University of Buffalo (Emeritus)

“The collection is well-rounded, including both purely theoretical analyses, as well as contributions with a strong historical and empirical focus…. This is an excellent collection not only for all those interested in the question of whether anarchy constitutes a feasible option that is superior to statist societies, but also for those interested in understanding how many real-world interactions do take place in the absence of effective third-party enforcement.”
—Ralf M. Bader, in Economic Affairs

“An excellent book that collects a set of helpful essays exploring the economics of bottom-up social organization—of anarchy. . . . Many contributors have gone on to venture more substantial discussions of state failure and non-state social organization like Coyne’s After War, Stringham’s Private Governance, and Leeson’s Anarchy Unbound. But this remains a valuable source of crisp, accessible discussions of anarchic social order.”
—Gary Chartier, in Review of Austrian Economics

Peter J. Boettke
Editor Title: 
Rosolino A. Candela
Editor Title: 

Brokers, Bureaucrats, and the Emergence of Financial Markets

December, 2004

This article provides a critical analysis of Frye (2000) and existing theories of self-governance. Following up on the recent studies by Stringham (2002, 2003), this paper focuses attention on the emergence of financial markets for several reasons. The common perception is that complicated financial instruments require state sanction to emerge. It is widely argued that in the absence of state regulation of of financial markets, cheating will be common. This paper shows, in contrast, that the evidence does not support this pessimistic view. In fact, markets are capable of endogenously generating the rules that govern their operation and these rules discipline cheating severely. Finally, if we can persuasively make the case that self-governance in financial markets is effective - with the complicated nature of transactions that take place - then the argument for self- governance in economic life, we contend, is much stronger than even classical liberalism has led us to believe.