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date: 06 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The economic analysis of ancient legal systems is fundamentally similar to the economic analysis of modern law. The researcher observes a data set of legal materials and seeks to explain its features based on a model of human action. If the analysis is successful, it could enhance the understanding of phenomena that are poorly explained by other approaches. Certain features of ancient legal materials, however, constrain economic analysis and require modifications to the methodology. Three differences are most salient: the sources of data available to the researcher; the assumptions that the researcher brings to bear in analyzing the data; and the techniques of validation available to confirm or disconfirm theoretical hypotheses. This chapter discusses how economic analysis is conducted subject to these constraints as well as applications of economic analysis of ancient legal systems.

Keywords: economic analysis, ancient legal systems, law, legal materials, data sources, legal history

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