Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I'm Reading

Adam Smith, Lectures in Jurisprudence (R.L. Meek, D.D. Raphael and P.G. Stein, eds, Clarendon Press 1978) (now available from the Liberty Fund).

This is not a book by Smith per se, but aggregated and reconciled reports on (or notes of) Smith's lectures delivered in 1972-4 at the University of Glasgow. They are nonetheless very interesting for revealing that Smith was as great a legal scholar as he was an economist. It is a pity that he did not live long enough to write a planned book on the theory and history of law and government, which he mentioned in a 1785 letter to the Duc de La Rochefoucald.

Kaushik Basu, Prelude to Political Economy: A Study of the Social and Political Foundations of Economics (Oxford 2000).

Basu, an economics professor at Cornell, provides an inclusive approach to institutions and the state by using game theory to embed economic theory in politics and society, with important implications for law, social norms, and theories of the state. It is not a simple book, but one that repays careful reading and thought. Fortunately, Basu writes so clearly and engagingly that the reader wants to do the  work.

Chris Wold, David Hunter and Melissa Powers, Climate Change and the Law (LexisNexis 2009). To be honest, this is a book I have to read for class. I'm teaching Climate Law & Policy next semester for the first time, and this is the main course book I've chosen. However, I am enjoying reading it. The economic readings and analysis in Chapter 2 are not as good as they might be, and I will certainly have to update and revise with hand-outs, but the book provides a well-balanced treatment of the issues, and I agree with the vast majority of the editors' organizational and editorial decisions.

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