‘Legal Theory Lexicon: Public and Private Goods’

“One of the most powerful ideas that legal theory borrows from economics is the idea of a ‘public good’. Sooner or later law students learn that within the framework of contemporary neoclassical economics, the standard line is that public goods (eg national security) should be provided by government whereas private goods (eg, automobiles) ought to be provided by markets. For legal theorists, the line between public and private goods tracks one of the important fault lines in the law – between the private law fields of property, contract, tort, and so forth and public law fields such as environmental law, administrative law, and constitutional law. This post provides a basic introduction to the economic distinction between public and private goods for law students (especially first year law students) with an interest in legal theory …” (more)

[Lawrence Solum, Legal Theory Blog, 20 October]

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