Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Hayek, Friedrich August von

  • Edward Peter StringhamEmail author
  • Todd J. Zywicki
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_225


F.A. Hayek focused on many traditional economic questions, and also made important contributions to law and economics. His framework differed from Kaldor Hicks efficiency and the wealth maximization norm common among neoclassical law and economics scholars. But he talked about how the common law evolves and helps shape economic outcomes. Underlying this approach was Hayek’s conviction that the essence of law is not created by the state, but rather preexists in the conventions and understandings within a community. Hayek argued that the role of the judge in a common-law system is to discover the law in the imminent consensus of norms and expectations. Hayek’s work has many implications for positive analysis and normative discussions of what judges should or should not do. To Hayek, the primary purpose of the law is not a wealth maximization problem, but to provide a stable institutional framework in a dynamic world that enables individuals to plan and coordinate.

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economic Organizations and InnovationTrinity CollegeHartfordUSA
  2. 2.American Institute for Economic ResearchGreat BarringtonUSA
  3. 3.Antonin Scalia Law SchoolGeorge Mason UniversityArlingtonUSA