Public Law and Economics

Robert D. Cooter & Michael D. Gilbert

Economic analysis of law has concentrated on private and business law. This book extends the analysis to fundamental topics in public law, such as the separation of powers, regulation by agencies, and constitutional rights. Public law involves six foundational processes of government: bargaining, voting, entrenching, delegating, adjudicating, and enforcing. The book devotes two chapters to each process, beginning with economic theory and then applying the theory to puzzles and problems in law. By focusing on cases and legal doctrine, the book shows the relevance of economics to the work of lawyers and judges.

Public Law and Economics is published by Oxford University Press and offered for free download under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Learn more


Key features

This comprehensive textbook applies economics to public law

  • Topics include the separation of powers, regulation by agencies, elections, rights, constitutions, legal interpretation, and enforcement
  • A resource for scholars, the book synthesizes research and charts new directions for economic analysis in law
  • Clear, non-technical writing and engaging examples make the book suitable for students in law, economics, political science, and beyond
Authors Robert D. Cooter
Michael D. Gilbert
Published Date October 7, 2022
Publisher Oxford University Press
ISBN-13 978-0-19-765588-7
# of Pages 624

Introducing the book

Michael Gilbert, one of the authors, introduces the book and its themes during an interview at the University of Virginia

The authors


Robert Cooter is the Herman F. Selvin Professor of Law, Emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Learn more


Michael Gilbert is the Vice Dean and Martha Lubin Karsh and Bruce A. Karsh Bicentennial Professor of Law at the University of Virginia.

Learn more

Buy the book

Public Law and Economics can be downloaded for free using the button above.

Hard copies of the book can be purchased from many sources including the publisher, Oxford University Press.

Instructor resources

The book is suitable for students in law, economics, political science, and other disciplines. Instructors who use the book have access to additional teaching resources, including sample syllabi and problem sets. 


Contact the authors

We wrote this book for students and scholars alike, and we hope the ideas captivate you like they do us. If you have questions or comments on the book, please contact us.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a message.
Please check the captcha to verify you are not a robot.