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PrivatizationNOMOS LX$
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Jack Knight and Melissa Schwartzberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479842933

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479842933.001.0001

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Is Rule of Law an Equilibrium Without (Some) Private Enforcement?

Is Rule of Law an Equilibrium Without (Some) Private Enforcement?

(p.246) 10 Is Rule of Law an Equilibrium Without (Some) Private Enforcement?

Gillian K. Hadfield

Barry R. Weingast

NYU Press

This chapter argue against the presumptive priority of government even in the domain of law: in recent work, the authors have developed a framework for analyzing law in which they suggest that the main distinction between legal and other social orders is the presence of an entity capable of changing rules. But an equilibrium in which these rules generate compliance does not require a centralized enforcement authority; indeed, the authors argue that fully centralized enforcement is in fact incapable of sustaining an equilibrium characterized by rule of law. Rather, the need to coordinate and incentivize voluntary participation under decentralized enforcement yields the normatively attractive legal attributes associated with the rule of law, and the authors draw on classical Athens to illustrate this model. On their account, private enforcement – in the sense of social sanctions and exclusion, limited use of force, and cooperation with authorized enforcers – are essential for a legal system to achieve the rule of law..

Keywords:   Privatization, Rule of Law, Enforcement, Equilibrium, Classical Athens

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