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Imperfect Alternatives

Choosing Institutions in Law, Economics, and Public Policy

Major approaches to law and public policy, ranging from law and economics to the fundamental rights approach to constitutional law, are based on the belief that the identification of the correct social goals or values is the key to describing or prescribing law and public policy outcomes. In this book, Neil Komesar argues that this emphasis on goal choice ignores an essential element—institutional choice. Indeed, as important as determining our social goals is deciding which institution is best equipped to implement them—the market, the political process, or the adjucative process.

Pointing out that all three institutions are massive, complex, and imperfect, Komesar develops a strategy for comparative institutional analysis that assesses variations in institutional ability. He then powerfully demonstrates the value of this analytical framework by using it to examine important contemporary issues ranging from tort reform to constitution-making.

295 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1997

Economics and Business: Economics--General Theory and Principles

Law and Legal Studies: General Legal Studies, Law and Economics

Political Science: Public Policy

Table of Contents

Pt. I: Deciding Who Decides: The Comparative Analysis of Institutional Performance
1: Taking Institutional Choice Seriously
2: Social Goals and Public Policies: Bridging the Gap between Them
Pt. II: Who Plays, Who Doesn’t: The Participation-Centered Approach to the Political Process, the Market, and the Courts
3: The Political Process: The Power of the Few and the Power of the Many
4: The Market Process: Transaction Costs and Transaction Benefits
5: The Courts as an Institution: The Structure and Scale of Justice
Pt. III: Applications: Weighing the Relative Merits of Institutions
6: Safety, Tort Law, and Tort Reform
7: Constitutional Law and Constitution Making
8: American Constitutional Law: The Contours of Judicial Review
9: Summary and Conclusion: Propositions Audiences, and Reformations
Author Index
Subject Index

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