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

Posted: 16 Jun 2008

See all articles by Steven G. Medema

Steven G. Medema

Duke University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: Spring 2007

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 reflects themes now associated with the Chicago approach and advances on Bentham in multiple ways—including through the use of marginal analysis—making him a bridge on the road from Bentham to Becker.

Suggested Citation

Medema, Steven G., Sidgwick's Utilitarian Analysis of Law: A Bridge from Bentham to Becker? (Spring 2007). American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 9, Issue 1, pp. 30-47, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1145990 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aler/ahm008

Steven G. Medema (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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