rule of law, legal theory, economic theory, law and economics, individualism, F. A. Hayek, James M. Buchanan, social science theories


Legal positivism, the leading version of legal theory, has shown that a concentration on the meanings and logical relations of legal concepts, however much supplemented by intuition, common sense and legal experience, is not adequate to make full sense out of the human experience of law, and the traditional understandings of legal obligation and rule of law in particular. However, modern economic science has advanced a radically individualistic theoretical approach which has propelled economics to the fore as the most successful of the social sciences. And its basic theoretical stance is proving both attractive and adaptable to all the other social sciences. It might be hoped that the current revolution in social science theory has opened a door through which legal theorists might enter, giving legal theory the advantage of a powerful additional perspective in future efforts to develop the understanding of law.

Original Publication Citation

"Rule of Law in Legal and Economic Theory," in L. E. Kotsiris (ed.), Law at the Turn of the 20th Century, Thessaloniki, Sakkoulas Publications, 1994, pages 357–376.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Thessaloniki, Sakkoulas Publications




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Political Science

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor