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The Laconomics of Apples and Oranges: A Speculative Analysis of the Economic Concept of Commensurability

By Jeanne L Schroeder

Abstract

Much recent debate on the economic analysis of law has focused on \u22commensurability\u22--the proposition that all options can be compared by reference to a single metric-such as utility or money. Legal economists argue not only that we can, but that we should, compare alternatives and make choices based on commensuration. Indeed, neo-classical price theory holds that only choices made on the basis of commensurability are economically rational. Critics of this position argue that certain alternatives cannot or perhaps should not be ranked according to some single metric or lowest common denominator because no single metric can capture the rich diversity of values. Indeed, to even attempt such a utilitarian calculus is to diminish our humanity

Topics: Arts and Humanities, History, Law
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:digitalcommons.law.yale.edu:yjlh-1276
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