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Steven Shavell, Law and Economics, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences 448 (James D. Wright ed., 2d ed. 2015).

Abstract: Economic analysis of law is concerned with (a) determination of the effects of legal rules and (b) evaluation of the desirability of the effects of legal rules, with respect to well-specified definitions of social welfare. This article surveys the approach as it applies to basic areas of law – accident, property, contract, and criminal law – as well as to the litigation process. The economic approach is also contrasted with traditional analysis of law, under which the effects of legal rules are not usually systematically assessed.