Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Wealth Maximization: Efficiency and Equality Considerations

  • Yew-Kwang NgEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_612


Posner’s proposal for wealth maximization in judiciary decisions has not been widely accepted, but the influence of the economic analysis of law it propelled has increased tremendously. In the face of criticism, Posner himself has retreated into a pragmatism with wealth maximization not the only principle used. This leads to a lack of both moral justification and consistency. This entry shows that, if not used as the ultimate objective, but as an instrument for welfare maximization, wealth maximization is much more acceptable, if it is also supplemented by appropriate redistribution in the general equality policy. This is especially so as efficiency supremacy in specific issues including the judiciary (close to wealth maximization) would then make every income group better off. This is so despite the presence of disincentive effects in general redistribution. The separation of the judiciary and the legislative may then also be justified.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.School of EconomicsFudan UniversityShanghaiChina