According to the old saying (attributed to the Greek poet Artilochus and later popularized by Sir Isaiah Berlin) the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog one big thing. That could, perhaps, be the message of Professor Samuel Bray's recent paper Remedies, Meet Economics; Economics, Meet Remedies, which is forthcoming in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. Bray argues that, while one might "expect to find a high degree of affinity between law and economics and the field of remedies," in fact this often isn't the case--one possible reason being "disciplinary fragmentation . . . . As specializations narrow and literatures grow, keeping up becomes difficult." Too many of us are hedgehogs, in other words, and not enough of us as foxes. (This may even include me, as much as I try to be a fox. I admit that I wasn't aware of Landes & Posner's 1994 paper in the Journal of Legal Studies on the economics of anticipatory adjudication, which Professor Bray cites (and critiques) in this article.) I suspect there's a good deal of truth in Professor Bray's observation, and overall this is a very interesting, though-provoking paper (though I'm not sure I would agree that Calabresi and Melamed intended some of their statements about property and liability rules, as presented in their famous 1972 paper, as anything more than a stylized model, as Professor Bray himself at times seems to acknowledge). I hope the paper spurs greater interest among both remedies scholars and law-and-economics scholars to work together and learn from one another. Anyway, here's a link to the paper, and here's the abstract:
One would expect the fields of ‘law and economics’ and ‘remedies’ to have substantial interaction. But scholars in each field largely ignore those in the other. Thus law and economics scholars blunder in their description of the law of remedies, and remedies scholars are cut off from economic insights. For scholars who are in these fields, this article offers a critique, as well as suggestions for cooperation. For all legal scholars interested in melding conceptual and economic analysis, it offers a cautionary tale of disciplinary fragmentation.