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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the application of an economic approach to the analysis of criminal law. It first outlines the theoretical framework supporting economic analysis in general and economic analysis of law in particular. Attention then turns to the intellectual history of the economic analysis of criminal law, with particular reference to its utilitarian roots. It also considers the intellectual development of the economic analysis of criminal law, including criminalization, the multiplier principle, and the tort law–criminal law divide. More specifically, it traces the economic analysis of criminal law and the deterrence-based case for criminal punishment to the workings of the founding fathers of utilitarianism and instrumentalism in legal theory: Thomas Hobbes, Cesare Beccaria, and Jeremy Bentham.

Keywords: criminal law, economic analysis, criminalization, multiplier principle, tort law, deterrence, punishment, Thomas Hobbes, Cesare Beccaria, Jeremy Bentham

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