Lawyers cum Economists: Did they Bring about Law & Economics? Gierke, Schmoller and the German Civil Code

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Jürgen G. Backhaus


This essay traces the question whether the key figures in the development of Law & Economics have been both lawyers and economists, or whether they rather were one or the other and the field emerged from close cooperation, partially in order to find out how to institutionally organize Law & Economics studies. A defining moment in the history of Law & Economics was the genesis of the German Civil Code of 1900, which profoundly changed shape due to the interaction between lawyer Otto v. Gierke and economist Gustav v. Schmoller. This story is narrated and analyzed, and lessons are drawn for today.

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