Posner, Eric A. 1965-

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Posner, Eric A. 1965-


Born December 5, 1965, in Washington, DC. Education: Yale University, B.A., M.A. (summa cum laude), 1988; Harvard University, J.D. (magna cum laude), 1991.


Office—University of Chicago Law School, 1111 East 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637.E-mail—[email protected].


Judge Stephen F. Williams, U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, Washington, DC, law clerk, 1991-92; Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, Washington, attorney advisor, 1992-93;University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, assistant professor of law, 1993-98; University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, IL, visiting professor, 1997, Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law, 1998—.


American Law and EconomicsAssociation.


John M. Olin fellow, University of Southern California, 1995; research grant,University of Pennsylvania, 1996.


Law and Social Norms, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

(General editor) Chicago Lectures in Law and Economics, Foundation Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(Editor, with Matthew D. Adler) Cost-Benefit Analysis: Legal, Philosophical, and Economic Perspectives, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.

Law and Economics, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2001.

(With Jack L. Goldsmith) The Limits of International Law, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to law journals. Editor, Journal of Legal Studies.


Journal articles and a book on contract law and theory.


Eric A. Posner's Law and Social Norms provoked a great deal of thought and debate among its readership. A study of why people adhere to laws and the role of social norms—predictable behaviors that most members of a society will manifest despite a legal framework shaping their actions—Posner's book uses game theory as well as an economic framework to, as Yale Law Journalwriter Richard H. McAdams wrote, "explain norms as arising from the need to attract cooperative partners," and thereby achieve a desired benefit at the least social cost. McAdams praised the theory set forth inLaw and Social Norms as "boldly inventive" and the book itself as "interesting and enlightening." Library Journal reviewer Steven Puro called Posner's analysis "interesting and novel" and commended Posner for addressing many theoretical problems inherent in the traditional consideration of this issue.

Posner and Matthew D. Adler edited Cost-Benefit Analysis: Legal, Philosophical, and Economic Perspectives.The volume's twelve articles examine how cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is used to assign dollar values and other rankings to various options. "Taken in its entirety," commented Richard S. Markovits inEthics, "this volume provides a good account of both the substantive and functional variants of CBA and the ‘benefits’ and ‘costs’ of using CBA. Its comprehensiveness, balance, and intermittent originality make it a significant contribution to the literature."

Posner and Jack L. Goldsmith are the authors of The Limits of International Law. Their central theme is thatinternational law is created by nation states acting rationally in their own best interests. In making their analysis, the authors demonstrate that states do not necessarily act in support of noble goals like human rights, but rather to satisfy self-interests. Policy Reviewcontributor Peter Berkowitz commented that "the heart of Goldsmith's and Posner's book is their rational-choice analysis of how customary international laworiginates and changes, and why states comply with it, and their examination of why states make treaties and honor them. It will raise plenty of hackles. The lucidity and accessibility of their theorizing and the incisiveness of their doctrinal analysis will only heighten the effect."



Choice, October, 2000, A.D. Sarat, review of Law and Social Norms, p. 402.

Ethics, April, 2005, Richard S. Markovits, review ofCost-Benefit Analysis: Legal, Philosophical, and Economic Perspectives, p. 593.

First Things, February, 2001, review of Law and Social Norms, p. 55.

Journal of Economic Literature, June, 2002, Michael J. Trebilcock, review of Law and Social Norms,p. 554.

Legal Studies Forum, summer-fall, 2001, Jason Mazzone, review of Law and Social Norms, pp. 665-669.

Library Journal, May 15, 2000, Steven Puro, review of Law and Social Norms, p. 110.

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, winter, 2001, Neil Duxbury, review of Law and Social Norms, pp. 719-736.

Policy Review, April-May, 2005, Peter Berkowitz, review of The Limits of International Law, p. 71.

University of Richmond Law Review, May, 2002, review of Law and Social Norms.

Yale Law Journal, January, 2001, Richard H. McAdams, review of Law and Social Norms, p. 625.


University of Chicago Law School Web site,http://www.law.uchicago.edu/(August 16, 2005), profile of Posner.