AN ECONOMIC APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF LAW IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY: GAETANO FILANGIERI AND LA SCIENZA DELLA LEGISLAZIONE

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Abstract

This work presents the elements of economic analysis of law that occur in thethought of Gaetano Filangieri. In the pages of La Scienza della Legislazione theNeapolitan writer develops a utilitarian and economic investigation that paysattention to the judgments individuals make over social phenomena at the marginpoint. A proof of this development can be found in the explanation of the principleof decreasing marginal utility, argued in Head XXXI of Book III, which representsone of the most effective demonstrations that can be found before the end ofnineteenth-century literature. The most remarkable fact is that, of all the five partsthat compose the Filangierian work, the most rich in economic arguments isdedicated to ‘‘Criminal Laws.’’This article will point out this and other innovative results of the Filangeriananalysis, and will also offer a reconstruction of the economic theory on crime andpunishment presented in La Scienza della Legislazione. Filangieri’s criminaldoctrine represents a significant example of the Enlightenment antecedents of‘‘law and economics,’’ as well as the better known contributions made byBeccaria and Bentham
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-248
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of the History of Economic Thought
Volume33
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Economics,Econometrics and Finance
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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