Calabresi on Merit Goods

Forthcoming, Global Jurist

18 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019

See all articles by Maxime Desmarais-Tremblay

Maxime Desmarais-Tremblay

Goldsmiths, University of London; Centre Walras-Pareto, Université de Lausanne

Date Written: December 19, 2018


This paper discusses Judge Guido Calabresi's use of the concept of merit goods in his book The Future of Law and Economics (2016). It addresses the following questions:

(1) What does Calabresi’s conceptualisation of merit good share with the main lines of arguments in the literature for justifying state provision of merit goods?

(2) What is Calabresi’s contribution and how compatible is it with this literature?

(3) What is missing in Calabresi’s conceptualisation?

(4) On what basis can we differentiate merit goods from mere externalities that do not require public attention?

Keywords: Guido Calabresi, Richard A. Musgrave, merit goods, merit wants, Law & Economics

JEL Classification: K00, H40, H42, B29, B40

Suggested Citation

Desmarais-Tremblay, Maxime, Calabresi on Merit Goods (December 19, 2018). Forthcoming, Global Jurist, Available at SSRN:

Maxime Desmarais-Tremblay (Contact Author)

Goldsmiths, University of London ( email )

Lewisham Way
New Cross
London, SE14 6NW
United Kingdom

Centre Walras-Pareto, Université de Lausanne ( email )

Quartier Chambronne
Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015

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