Adam Smith is not normally identified as an important figure in law and economics. However, his Lectures on Jurisprudence contain a surprising number of insights that would be repeated by law and economics scholars of the late twentieth century. This essay argues for Smith’s place in law and economics, identifying some of his most important arguments and emphasizing their contribution to legal theory. It also suggests reasons why Smith’s ideas did not lead immediately to the widespread adoption of efficiency-based explanations for legal rules.
Paul G. Mahoney, Adam Smith, Prophet of Law and Economics, 46 Journal of Legal Studies, 207–236 (2017).