Lost in Translation: The Economic Analysis of Law in the United States and Europe
This Essay was originally written for a volume in honor of Professor Jost Delbriick, whose dedication to study and teaching on human rights has served as an inspiration for both authors. A version of it appears in WELTINNENRECHT-LIBER AMICORUM JOST DELBRUCK, Veroffentlichungen des Walther-Schiicking-Instituts fur Internationales Recht an der Universitdt Kiel, Band 155, Seiten 131-56 (Klaus Dicke, Stephan Hobe, Karl-Urich Meyn, Anne Peters, Eibe Riedel, Hans-Joachim Schutz und Christian Tietje (Hrsg.), Berlin 2005).
In this Essay, we examine the reasons why the economic analysis of law has not flourished in European countries as it has in the United States. In particular, we focus on three European countries-the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. We argue that differences in culture, the legal system, and the academy have led to differing degrees of success of the law and economics movement in each country. We speculate that, although there is currently less interest in the economic analysis of the law in Europe than in the United States, European interest could dramatically increase if scholars adopt more communitarian analyses aimed at analyzing legislative polices rather than judicial decisions.