Seminar 10: methodological Issues

This seminar will be led by Magdalena Malecka (Max Weber Fellow) and will help us take stock of the issues covered by looking into the methodology of economics and of law and economics. 

During the meeting we will discuss selected methodological issues related to the way in which explanations and predictions of people’s responses to legal norms are formulated by law & economics scholars.

We start our discussion from the analysis of Friedman’s seminal article on methodology of positive economics and reconstruct the reasoning which underlies his methodological standpoint called “as if methodology” or “F-twist”. The rationale for referring to this paper is the fact that Friedman’s methodological ideas are widely accepted in the realm of law & economics.

Furthermore, we focus on the critique (inspired i.a. by the research on bounded rationality and social norms), which led to the development of the alternative approach within law & economics movement– the behavioral law & economics. Since behavioral law & economics relies to great extent on findings of experimental research, we analyze the design and outcomes of the field experiment aimed at testing the deterrence hypothesis.

Finally, we discuss whether methodological problems and puzzles which appear on the ground of law & economics can be better understood in the light of the philosophical debates on the scientific method​



 Friedman ‘The Methodology of Positive Economics’ in Friedman, Essays in positive economics (University of Chicago Press, 1953)pp. 3-43. see here for the text:

 Kerkmeester (1999), Methodology: general, [in:] Bouckaert and de Geest (eds) Encyclopedia of Law and Economics (1999) pp.383-401. The text is available on line at this link  (text is 0400)

Gneezy and Rustichini ‘A Fine is A Price’ (2000) 29 Journal of Legal Studies 1  (this is from seminar 3, we did not get a chance to look at it but it fits well within some of the methodological issues).


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